Home | News    Wednesday 24 April 2013

Schools run out of papers at the start of South Sudan exams

By Bonifacio Taban Kuich

April 23, 2013 (BENTIU) - South Sudan’s Unity state ran out national examination papers for secondary school students on Monday officials from state Ministry of Education admitted on Tuesday.

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Peter Par Nhial speaks to Sudan Tribune in Kalibalek Market about South Sudan’s education system, April 23, 2013 (ST)

In 2012 and later this year the world newest nation introduced new primary and secondary curricula but parents have blame examination council committees of creating misunderstanding as students have suffered from lack of papers and mistakes in the exams themselves.

Many of the 1,500 students who took the exams in Unity state were surprised to be told on Monday morning that they would have to wait half of the day in the exam hall until the exam papers arrived from the capital Juba.

Peter Par Nhial a parent whose child goes to school in Unity state told Sudan Tribune that students were angry that there were not enough exam papers for students. This is first time for students to sit exams under the new South Sudanese system after the Sudanese system was dropped after independence in 2011.

Nhial blamed the examiners and teachers for not ensuring there were enough papers and urged the authorities in to cancel the examinations to avoid confusion among students, as some students had taken the exam while some schools are still waiting to receive enough papers.

It was unfair for some students to fail because some the exams were confusing or had mistakes in them, he told Sudan Tribune on Tuesday.

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Angelo Chol, Unity State’s education minister talks to Sudan Tribune about the country’s examination problems, April 23, 2013 (ST)

Angelo Chol Dong Wei, minister of education in Unity state says the lack of papers was due to mistakes by the examination council committees in Juba and has resulted in the delay of the examination process.

“It is good that this year South Sudan has started his own examinations", he said, admitting that there were still "some challenges" and "problems" in the new system, with some centres still not receiving all the their papers.

Some schools in South Sudan particularly in Unity state report that overcrowding has resulted in some children taking to sitting under trees instead of learning in classrooms, which will become impractical once the rainy season begins in the nxt few weeks.

The minister said the authorities in the nine counties of Unity state were working hard to collaborate with communities to help build more schools but said that state-level ministries did not have a budget to construct new schools of classrooms.

“Actually we don’t have enough classes and we don’t have budget for construction as the ministry of education, state is expected also to have role in constructing schools but mostly we rely on communities so each community will have plan so that they will build their own schools in Payams [disctrict] or in their Boma [sub-district]. So our plan is to have a joint meeting with commissioners’ counties and education directors so that they will know that it is their role not entirely the role of ministry of education only”, said Chol.

The South Sudan examinations began on Monday and are due to last for three weeks.