Textbooks Are Life, Don’t Sell Your Life.
Juba, June 11, 2013 (SSNA) — At the launch of the National Textbook Distribution in Western Equatoria State the Governor of Western Equatoria State Col. Joseph Bakosoro guided the primary students on the importance of education and protecting the received books from illegal sale. “The first commandment is that these textbooks will not be sold, the second commandment is that these books are your life… so, don’t sell your life”.
The well attended ceremony which took place on the 6th of June at the Yabongo Girls School in Yambio marked the start of the delivery of 428.000 textbooks, teacher guides and other reading materials to 464 primary schools and Accelerated Learning Program (ALP) centres in the State. The delivery of books in Western Equatoria State will last at least six weeks and is part of the nationwide supply of reading materials. The distribution is an initiative of the Juba based Ministry of General Education and Instruction (MoGEI) and is supported by UK Aid through their Department for International Development (DFID).
The event was also attended by the Head of DFID (South Sudan) Ms. Elizabeth Carriere who represented UK Aid, the State Minister of Education Hon. Philip Pia, County Education Directors, several head teachers, students of Yabongo and St Mary Primary School, educationalists and representatives of Charles Kendall and Partners (CKP), the organization which is realizing the distribution of the books throughout South Sudan.
In his well received speech Governor Bakosoro emphasized that the students, teachers and the people of Western Equatoria State should take ownership of the books and have to ensure that the reading materials last as long as possible for the benefit of many more generations of students. “These books don’t belong to the bazungu; they don’t belong to DFID or the British. The books are ours and anything which is ours should be kept and maintained like it is our property”. He also spoke on the importance of education for girls and advised them to finish school before getting married and conceiving children.
The Head of DFID, Ms. Cariere, stressed that the occasion marked the start of a long lasting relationship between the development agency and both the Government of South Sudan and Western Equatoria State. “Our partnership supports the establishment of new education systems, it will increase the capacity at all levels to design and implement better education policies. Yesterday I met the State Minister of Education and we had detailed discussions on support that DFID will offer to the Ministry”. Ms. Carriere disclosed that UK Aid will start a special program aimed at increasing the enrolment of girls into primary and secondary schools. “The 5 year program is in the final preparatory phase and will roll out over South Sudan and Western Equatoria over the coming months”. She was impressed with the commitment and the ongoing activities of the State Ministry and said that as far as education in Western Equatoria is concerned, UK Aid is pushing an open door.
Hon. Philip Pia, the State Minister of Education, said that today’s system of education has changed. “It’s not anymore the old way when the students were seen as empty vessels which were to be filled by the teacher with knowledge. Nowadays the teachers have to light the candle which will make the fire of education burn, the children must learn by themselves but the teachers have to open the door to learning”.
He acknowledged that the students often fail because they and their teachers lack the resources to learn and teach. Therefore the Minister welcomed the donation of new books. He praised CKP for the manner of distributing the books which ensures that the reading materials are being delivered direct to the schools.
The Minister appealed to the parents to do their part to support the education of their children and to take care that the provided books are well kept. Hon. Pia welcomed the support of girls’ education “UK Aid passed that ball to us, we will pick it and run away with it, the Government of Western Equatoria State will champion education for girls”.
Background information for Editors:
The National Textbook Distribution which started in December 2012, will supply all Primary Schools and ALP centres in South Sudan with textbooks, teacher guides and readers. The books, which cover the 5 core subjects (Social Studies, Science, Mathematics, Religious Education and English) are the first revised textbooks that have been written and designed by South Sudanese educationalists for South Sudanese children under the current national curriculum. The supplies are based on enrolment data given by the MoGEI in Juba. These data were updated after a series of State level workshops with County Education Directors and representatives of the State Ministries held end of 2012 and beginning of 2013.
In total around 9.6 million books and readers will be distributed to the private and government managed schools in the Payams in all ten States. The distribution will provide the textbooks at a one on one ratio to students in the lower grades of primary while in the higher grades 3 students will have share 1 textbook in all core subjects.
As of the first week of June 2013 more than half of all Primary schools and ALP centres in South Sudan received their allocated textbooks, teacher guides and other reading materials. The deliveries in Central Equatoria, Warrap, Western Bahr El Ghazal and Northern Bahr el Ghazal have been completed while the distribution in the remaining States is ongoing.
The National Textbook Distribution is funded by UK-Aid through their Department for International Development (DFID) in Juba and is an initiative of the South Sudan Ministry of General Education and Instruction. The printing and distribution of the textbooks and teacher guides and the procurement of other reading materials is realized by Charles Kendall and Partners for the UK Government.
For more information on the National Textbook Distribution or requests for interviews please contact: Huub Gales / [email protected] / 211-(0) 955 05 33 77