The role of active bystanders in the provision of quality education in South Sudan

Posted: March 1, 2019 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Abraham Mabior Rioc, Commentary, Contributing Writers, Education, Junub Sudan, Opinion Articles, Opinion Writers

The role of active bystanders in the provision of quality education during emergency situations in South Sudan

By Abraham Mabior Rioc, Paris, France


Friday, March 01, 2019 (PW) — Education has been considered a tool for socio-economic progress at family through national level. For this reason, it remains a desire for the general public to receive an elitism of the education system both during emergency and non-emergency situations. Basically, this enhances the acquisition of quality and relevant skills as well as meaningful knowledge that can answer societal problems in different forms. In most of the developing countries including South Sudan, education has largely been undermined and ignored by policy actors and their implementing political agents. Undeniably, it is clearly manifested in the performance of education system, poor or inadequate tangible educational facilities simply because most of the country’s citizens are passive bystanders within the wider South Sudanese education circle.

 In this setting, South Sudanese are passive bystanders when it comes to the provision of education at all levels. By definition, active bystander is someone who can speak and act immediately when sensing something unusual going on in his or her presence. In contrast, passive bystander is someone who does not take part in the situation or say something at all.  In fact, these types of people exist in every society including at family and bureaucratic levels.  From the perspective of education in emergencies, schools at community level have been affected differently as a result of dynamic cultural, political, and social factors which need immediate interventions from active bystanders. As a point in case, most of the political leaders, academics, and practitioners have always remained inactive when it comes to educational decision-making and immediate intervention in the face of crises.

In purely fundamental terms, provision of quality education during and after crisis enables individuals to acquire meaningful knowledge and practical skills that can enable them get job and to earn a living both during and after crises. In this sense, education remains a collective responsibility of every community member­­––including you and me. In an effort to mitigate conflict within the professional community setting, it could boost the delivery of the quality educational services in a fairer and favorable learning environment that is more inclusive. In other words, it transmits a message of peace and trust-building among the learners.

In the context of South Sudan, an investment in education means a lot for life improvement of individuals and the society as well during and after the crisis. In the event where most wars and conflicts are fought along tribal and regional affiliations, education remains an inspirational entity that can bring together all people from all works of life. Equally important, educational activities encourage cooperation and coexistence between teachers, students, and educational personnel in the school community as well as in the wider society coverage. Likewise, education provides a peaceful and democratic atmosphere that enable the students of the victims forget the past bad memories of what had happened or is happening during the crisis.

As far as education in emergency is concerned, heartbreaking memories and sad stories of the war are often cleared off when educational opportunities are provided. Such provision of educational activities was fully utilized in the aftermath of Rwanda genocide as children of Tutu and Tutsi were brought together under learning activities so that they had to forget those sad memories which happened during the genocidal war of Rwanda in 1994. For this reason, education encourages counseling activities to be creatively applied to create a trusting relationship and safe learning environment for both learners to freely enjoy their learning activities without fear or intimidation.

On the foreground, active bystanders could contribute to the elimination the ethnic and political divides as education itself remains a unifying factor for reconciliation especially in the context of building a pluralistic society that aims to adopt one common political and economic agenda. This implies that education is one of societal values that contributes to peace and an all-inclusive society regardless of ethnic, cultural, and political differences. On the background, the presence of wars and ethnic divisions in a country, healing and reconciliation become dejected, however; they are treated as viable tools used through education in a manner that can restore justice, equitable distribution of educational resources, build trust and confidence among the communities.

Conclusively, South Sudanese from all words of life need to be active bystanders in order to the education system from collapsing. This should be done through privatization and massification of education in and across the country. Due to the fact that ethnic division, distrust, and exclusivity of minority groups in the political and economic dispensation have taken deep and wider roots, active participation and counseling process should take a lead in in the school settings. Through the participation of the active bystanders, traumatic incidents that happen during the war and continue to disturb the minds of the affected individuals could be minimized to avoid complicated negative consequences in one’s life in the alter dates.

The author is a Postgraduate Student of Master of Education at The University of Hong Kong. He is reachable via

The opinion expressed here is solely the view of the writer. The veracity of any claim made is the responsibility of the author, not PaanLuel Wël Media (PW) website. If you want to submit an opinion article, commentary or news analysis, please email it to PaanLuel Wël Media (PW) website do reserve the right to edit or reject material before publication. Please include your full name, a short biography, email address, city and the country you are writing from.

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