Officials urge for joint efforts after thousands of schoolchildren failed exams

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[Yei, South Sudan] Education officials in Central Equatoria State’s Yei River County are calling on teachers, parents, and the authorities to join efforts in improving children performance in school after thousands failed the mock examinations.

[Yei, South Sudan] Education officials in Central Equatoria State’s Yei River County are calling on teachers, parents, and the authorities to join efforts in improving children performance in school after thousands failed the mock examinations.

 

Out of 3,374 primary eight candidates who sat for the mock examinations in four Payams of the county plus the municipality, only 1,311 candidates passed according to the results released by Yei River County examinations board.

The results indicate that 38.9% have passed while 61.1% of run short of the passing marks. Eight hundred and ninety nine boys passed, and 1, 310 failed out of 2,209. However, out of 1, 165 female candidates who sat the exams, only 412 girls passed and 753 failed the exams.

Challenges facing South Sudan Education

The education authority attributed this term poor performances to pupils’ negligence on studies, lack of teachers, and congestion of learners in class.

“One of the factors is the culture of reading. Most of the pupils are not keen in reading. Some of the problems are caused by the school administrations by registering the pupils who are not qualified for Primary 8,” the County Examinations Board chairperson Amos Alexander told TCT.

 “When you look to the government schools, we have a problem of few teachers, compare to the number of the learners.”

Yei has about 205 schools: 120 primary, 20 secondary and 65 nursery schools with more than 40,000 learners. These figures are estimated from educational officials as of 2014. Only 402 teachers with 332 male and 70 female are serving these schools. The department said the 2013 downsizing of teachers had left some schools vulnerable with only one trained teacher and some untrained volunteers sometimes running the whole school. However, not enough, the government with the help of partners is currently offering teachers capacity building trainings across the country.

The private schools lightly performed better than government schools with only Lasu primary school, a government school, with nine other private schools in the top ten schools in the county.

Mr. Alexander indicated that most government schools are faced by congestion of learners and low capacity of untrained teachers.

“Due to increasing population,” he said, “Most schools in the urban areas are hosting 180 pupils per class, compelling the teachers to improperly cover the subjects.”

According to Mr. Alexander, some government run schools have few teachers assisted by some unpaid volunteers with most of them not trained.   Alexander, who is also the deputy education director in the county, recommends timely supervision of the learners in classes and by the parents at home with limitation of unnecessary movements.

Maude Samuel Cyprian, a teacher at Christ the King Primary School, a church based school, called on the government and the development partners to provide enough capacity buildings and proper motivation to the teachers.  Maude appealed for support on the capacity building of teachers.

“Some teachers have never attained any training though they are helping so much in uplifting the standard of education,” he said.  

“Some teachers are not qualified. When a teacher takes a subject, explanation becomes a problem. In some schools, there is no proper motivation, of which a teacher may decide to leave,” he emphasized.

School authorities blame parents

The teacher partly blames parents on their lack of supervision of the children at home, leaving them with freedom of idleness than embarking on studies, adding that some schools lack regular roll call to determine the class attendance of the learners.

“In some schools, they just leave pupils to move anyhow without roll calls and some parents don’t care to monitor school children after returning home. The parents should stop giving heavy work to pupils at home when it is time for studies,” he said.

Nyoka Hellen Martin, a mother of two children admits that some parents do not cross check their children’s book at home to assess their progress.

“Other parents, they are not monitoring their children performances. The do not know even how the kid is doing in school” she narrated.  

Ms. Hellen called on fellow parents to stop over loading their children with domestic work so that learners can concentrate on spending their time on studies, adding that teachers and parents should cooperate in providing better education to the children.

“As parents, we need to supervise our children’ school work. We need to check their work at school and correct what is wrong,” she urged.

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