Stop the war and send All South Sudanese children back to school

By Dr. Wesley Bokati Natana Abraham,

Children muster in the morning in the courtyard of Comboni Primary School in Wanjok, South Sudan. Wanjok is located about two hours drive from Aweil, ...(File by Nyamilepedia)

Children muster in the morning in the courtyard of Comboni Primary School in Wanjok, South Sudan. Wanjok is located about two hours drive from Aweil, …(File by Nyamilepedia)        

Sept 29, 2016(Nyamilepedia) —– As you are all aware the current crises in South Sudan have made many children particularly in the rural areas of Greater Equatoria, Greater Upper Nile and some parts of western Bahr-el-Gazal have stopped children from going to school for more than three years now. Knowing very well that the future of any nation depends on its educated youth and being an educator and parent myself, this situation is paining me every day. For example, a team from the UN, who were taking school materials to Lobonok County this week, was denied access to the area due to lack of clearance permit.

This team was going to distribute needed school materials to some 150 pupils on September 28, 2016, when their convoy was stopped at the outskirt of Juba from proceeding to the area. In a related development, twelve primary schools in Imatong State have been closed due to shortages of teachers, lack of motivation of the teachers, including irregular payment, lack of promotion and lack of allowance.

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Other reasons are associated with the insecurity as armed opposition groups in the area have recently increased their activities, forcing parents to relocate from their villages in search of safety. The closure has now put at stake the future of the school going age children who have been asked to stay home by the parents. Lopit-West County has 16 primary Schools. The county commissioner revealed lack of Medicines and more cases of malaria in the area especially with children as additional reasons. He further added that the last consignment of medicines which was delivered to the area was on June but until now no medicines delivered.

In Greater Mundri Counties, more than 126 primary schools and six secondary schools have remained closed for more than three years now due to insecurity, which has forced school aged children to stay in the bushes with their parents without education. This sad situation can only be changed if the Government of the Republic of South Sudan stops this senseless war and focuses on the implementation of the signed peace agreement.

Therefore the purpose of this article is to encourage the government of the Republic of South Sudan to end this senseless war by focusing on the implementation of the signed peace agreement and encourage parents to send all their children back to school and support them fully. This article is also intended to encourage children of all ages to go back to school as soon the war is ended and meet all requirements necessary for teaching and learning processes so as to obtain quality education.

Why do we have to encourage children to go back to school regardless of their age differences? The answer is simple; we want them to learn, aquire knowledge, skills, positive attitudes, positive culture, discover new things and some new ways of doing thing in society, as we move towards a first growing technological world.   We expect our children to become self-reliant able to realize him or herself with all potentials, not only physically or mentally but also morally, socially, emotionally and spiritually.

The task of our teachers in this process

The task of a good teacher at this critical moment is to enable his or her student to be aware of himself or herself. This self-awareness aims at enabling a student to become conscious of his or her possibilities in life. Being conscious means that a student is capable of independent thinking, feelings, and ideas and well. Teachers therefore, have the responsibility of helping and guiding their students to realize their potential possibilities and enable them to understand their limit at each state of teaching and learning process. This understanding of teaching and learning process make student to look at school as a place that is preparing him or her for a better life in the society.

The role of parent in this process

Parent is very important in teaching and learning process. They have to send their children both boys and girls to school at an early age and support them fully. They have to ensure that their children have uniforms, school bags, exercise books, pens, pencils, rulers, required text books, and all the items as requested by the school. They have to ensure that children are doing their homework and revising their lessons while at home. They have also to create time and quite place for children to study. Parents are also to serve as role models for their children, so that they can learn some positive values and culture from them while at home. Parents are also expected to teach their children while at home, so that they can behave well in the school and the society.

The role of community in this teaching and learning process

The community is to contribute positively for the welfare of teachers and students through parent and teachers associations or councils. They are to meet some of the basic needs of the teacher and students which the government cannot meet at the moment. They are to volunteer their services to the school whenever the need arises and asked to do so by the school authorities. They are to correct the behavior of teachers and students in the community. They are to ensure that the government policy of free and compulsory primary education is implemented in their communities they also have to ensure that teachers and students are reporting regularly in the school and teaching-learning process is going on well as outlined in the curriculum and syllabus.

The role of everybody in the school

The role of everybody in the school is to own the school as their own and sustain it.

Expected behavior of the student

Students must respect and love their parents and teachers, come to school on time, take their studies seriously, do all their assignments on time, abide by all school rules and regulations and put what they have learnt into practice in their own communities at each stage of their learning process, so that they can learn more by doing and practice.

Conclusion

Therefore, in conclusion I would like to encourage the government, communities, and parents of the Republic of South Sudan, to stop this senseless war, prioritize education, send the children of South Sudan who are currently out of school, back to school both boys and girls and support them fully, because future development of the Republic of South Sudan depends on the educated youth.

Best regards,

Dr. Wesley Bokati Natana Abraham

A concerned South Sudanese elder, an educator and Former UN Diplomat

Nairobi, Kenya. For more information, you can reach Dr. Wesley at bnatana@yahoo.com


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