Juba, June 17, 2013 (SSNA) — In the first week of June the SPLA garrisons in Renk and Malakal received 24,985 textbooks and teacher guides for further distribution to the armed forces primary schools and Accelerated Learning Program (ALP) centres in Upper Nile State. This first delivery to the garrisons is part of the country wide National Textbook Distribution which provides textbooks and other reading materials to all primary schools and ALP centres in South Sudan. The distribution of the books is an initiative of the South Sudan Ministry of General Education and Instruction (MoGEI) and is supported by UK-Aid through their Department for International Development (DFID) in Juba.
Senior Education Adviser Richard Arden who coordinates the National Textbook Distribution for DFID emphasizes the importance of having an educated army. “Education will improve the way in which the SPLA can contribute to the broader development of South Sudan. It will advance the relationship between the SPLA and the public and an educated army will shore up peace keeping operations and stabilisation. We also recognize the educational needs of families of soldiers serving in the armed forces” Mr. Arden stressed that DFID already supports the transfer of teaching skills and language training to the SPLA. “We are providing English language tuition to SPLA officers through the British Council. This includes training of SPLA staff to deliver English language skills to their colleagues”.
In addition to the two containers delivered to Upper Nile State the garrisons in Central Equatoria, Jonglei, Easter Equatoria, Unity, Western and Northern Bahr el Ghazal States will receive 13 containers holding textbooks and teacher guides. In total 187 SPLA primary schools and ALP centres have been allocated 218,750 books and this includes supplies for the schools for wounded war heroes and the disabled. The SPLA will escort the delivery trucks to their destination to ensure a smooth handling of the cargo on the way and the correct deliveries at the regional garrisons.
All primary and ALP students in South Sudan face enormous challenges accessing reading materials with at times as many as nine students sharing one textbook. This lack of books stifles quality education and is one of the main causes for the high drop out from primary education. According to a publication of DFID fifteen percent of the students who did not complete primary education in 2008-2009 mentioned the lack of textbooks as the key reason for not attending classes.
The National Textbook Distribution which started in December 2012 will supply all primary schools and ALP centres in South Sudan with textbooks and teacher guides. The books, which cover the 5 core subjects (Science, Mathematics, English, Religious Education and Social Studies), are the first revised textbooks that have been written and designed by South Sudanese educationalists for South Sudanese children under the current national curriculum. In total around 9.6 million books and readers will be distributed to the schools in the payams across all ten States.
As of the middle of June 2013 more than half of the schools in South Sudan received their allocated share of books. 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 distribution is realized by Charles Kendall and Partners (CKP) on behalf of the British Government.
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