October 31, 2013 (BENTIU) - The minister of higher education, science and technology, John Gai Yoach, says he will work to improve education in South Sudan and acknowledged the poor state of education across the young nation.
- South Sudan’s minister of education science and technology, John Gai Yoh speaking to the press in Bor, Jonglei. 9 Sept. 2013 (ST)
Yoach made the comments while addressing journalists on a visit Unity state’s capital, Bentiu after he meet with state education officials, adding that he will urgently work on advancing the education system in South Sudan.
His current visit with two other education ministers from Western and Eastern Equatoria states were to assess challenges and to speak to education officials in the state to discover the obstacles faced by teachers and education administrators in primary and secondary schools.
South Sudan’s ministry of education, he said, was looking to create a unified national curriculum.
“After the assessment all the delegations will meet toward the end in third week of November to set down and put together the general assessments on what we actually find out”, said Yoach.
He added their main objectives were to understand the state of education across South Sudan. The fact finding process was similar to that conducted across South Sudan’s five universities earlier this year, he said.
The minister’s three days presence in Unity state has given him a chance to interact with county education authorities. He has assured the public that the six day assessment will help him understand the problems faced by students and teachers.
South Sudanese teachers have long complaining about their low salaries. Currently a teacher’s monthly salary is only 250-300 South Sudanese pounds, which is less than $100.
John Both a teacher in Unity state told Sudan Tribune on Thursday that low pay is forcing many teachers to switch to better paid jobs. The government needs to improve salaries and unify the curriculum in all ten states in South Sudan.
Last year nearly 30 teachers left their profession applying for jobs as security guards for for the United Nation Mission in South Sudan. Ones months salary as a UN security guard is the equivalent of what a South Sudanese teacher earns in a year.
Many residents in South Sudan are critically of the many senior governments who send their children abroad to be be educated, arguing that this is contributing to the country’s poor country education system.
An official from South Sudan’s ruling party - the SPLM - in Unity state told Sudan Tribune on condition of anonymity says that the majority of officials have sent their children to study in neighboring East African countries. He added that this has pushed back the development of education.
He also accused officials of failing to improve services delivery after they are appointed.
The official blamed the country’s parliamentarians for failing to address corruption, which has hampered the ability of the new nation to provide basic services to its citizens.