The First National South Sudan Education Curriculum

 

By
Tami F. Carsillo

May 2017

Introduction

The purpose of my Semester Project is to study how the first, national South Sudanese education curriculum framework is being promoted as a transformer and unifier of the people of South Sudan as it responds to the civil war, particularly since the breakout of increased fighting as of December 2013.  I'm interested in how a national education curriculum is designed (in this instance with the assistance of South Sudan representatives of universities, schools, State Ministries of Education, and the South Sudan Ministry of Education, Science & Technology, United Kingdom Department for International Development [DFID], and UNICEF), framed, and implemented as an aspect of reconciliation and transformation for a country that still grapples with the effects of an ethnic-based civil war.

South Sudan History

After 22 years (1983-2005) of the Second Civil War between the Khartoum-based Sudanese government and the Sudan People’s Liberation Army/Movement (SPLA/M), the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) in 2005, and the vote for independence by Southerners in the January, 2011 referendum, South Sudan became an independent nation on July 9, 2011.  Yet, with all the celebrations of independence, South Sudan is faced with building an entire nation from scratch.  Infrastructure systems of government, transportation, security, technology, health care, education, and electricity are being built (and destroyed) simultaneously.  It is a daunting task and involves governments, multinational companies, aid agencies, and donors from around the world, each stakeholder with their own agenda for developing a sustainable South Sudan.

Since December 15, 2013, the continued escalation of ethnic violence has been between the forces of President Salva Kiir (Dinka) and former Vice-President Riek Machar (Nuer) and is rooted in the power struggle within the governing Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) with multiple non-binding cease-fire agreements since January 2014. (BBC News, 2015; Mercy Corps, 2017; Thomas & Chan, 2017).  A historiography of South(ern) Sudan explains that conflict has existed for decades, yet the fight for independence became a unifier and with it, hopes of continued unification once independence was achieved.  Unfortunately, once the celebratory “dust settled”, people realized that with over 60 ethnic groups, the intrastate and non-state, ethnic-based conflicts still existed, as did the economic, cultural, gender, education, environmental, and political conflicts.  In addition, the interconnectedness of interstate, intrastate, and non-state ethnic actors have created a perfect storm of escalated violence pitting Dinka and Nuer (and other ethnic groups) against each other for power, control, oil rights, and access to the limited resources for survival.  In August 2015, following international and regional pressures, an Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan was signed between the SPLM, SPLM-In Opposition (SPLM-IO) and SPLM-Former Detainees (SPLM-FD). When Machar returned to Juba and assumed his post of First Vice-President in April 2016, per the agreement, little progress was made to reduce the civil war and violence (Thomas & Chan, 2017; Uppsala Conflict Data Program [UCDP], 2017).  By July 2016, tensions between SPLA and SPLA-IO soldiers erupted in Juba, and Machar and many SPLA-IO soldiers fled.  Currently, conflict is widespread, fragmenting opposition forces, and increasing genocidal acts (systematic famine for example), ethnic hate speech, and media censorship, leaving the world’s newest nation on the verge of collapse.

South Sudan Education System

The education system in the South Sudan faces many shortages, challenges, and obstacles.  The adult population literacy rate is 27% and the population that lives below the poverty line is at 51%.  Even with a country population the size of New York or London, according to UNESCO (2011), “The entire secondary school population could be accommodated in just five schools in those cities – and the girls in the last grade of high school in fewer than a dozen classrooms” (p.1).  The World Bank (2012) also describes the situation of schools and service delivery challenges due to the lack of infrastructure and that 75% of primary schools and 22% of secondary schools do not have permanent structures, which leads to safety concerns, the loss of working days, and stable, consistent attendance by both teachers and students.

Additional educational concerns are that the primary system has an excess of 1.3 million primary school age children not enrolled or able to have access to a formal education as well as shortages of trained teachers, textbooks, and supplies.  The ratio of teachers to students is 1:88 in primary and 1:44 in secondary, and only 12% of teachers are females, reinforcing gender inequality (Government of the Republic of South Sudan, 2015; UNESCO, 2011).  Safety is also of prime concern with 42.4% of secondary schools without access to drinking water; 29.0% without access to latrines; 78.8% without access to electricity; and 95.9% without access to a health center (Government of the Republic of South Sudan, 2015).  Fear of additional conflicts and unsafe access to schools as well as unsafely constructed schools have and will continue to prevent many from attending.

Also, in order to undo the Sudan government’s requirement of Arabic and to contribute to national identity, equitable access to economic opportunities, and regional ties, the South Sudan government and Ministry of Education, Science & Technology (MoEST) has required that English be not only the official language of the nation, but also the language of education instruction (Daoust & Novelli, 2015; South Sudan Ministry of Justice, 2013; World Bank, 2012). Yet, according to Knezevic and Smith (2015), challenges to English as the official language of instruction include:

The stunting of education quality, as well as increasing tensions among Arabic and English education personnel. Not only primary schools, but also some secondary schools are demanding that people be taught in their local language. What matters is finding the best path to literacy and ensuring children find interest in continuing education. (p. 26).

In addition, in May of 2016, South Sudan’s Ministry of General Education and Instruction (MOGEI) announced the phasing-out of the foreign education curricula in schools replacing it with the country’s national education curriculum.  The decision is in line with the General Education Act, 2012 Chapter IV, Article 12, which states that the Ministry shall establish a unified secular curriculum for public and private schools (Deng, 2016).

First, National South Sudan Curriculum Framework

On September 8, 2015, the MoEST launched the first comprehensive national education curriculum for South Sudan.  The curriculum framework is considered, by the MoEST to be “a complete, harmonized, and recognized curriculum in line with regional and international education standards” and was launched under the theme: ‘Harmonised Education Service Delivery for Nation building, Peaceful Co-existence and Lifelong Learning for All’ (UNICEF, 2015).  The need for this first, national curriculum was supported by the South Sudan government, which began the process in 2013 as a means to reform the status of education and improve the quality and pace of the country’s socioeconomic development (Maphalala, 2015).  The curriculum was also promoted as legitimized through its grounding by key South Sudan documents that include the 2011 interim Constitution of South Sudan, the 2012 Education Act, and the 2012-2017 General Education Strategic Plan (Maphalala, 2015). 

The curriculum is competency-based and integrates life skills and peace education, gender, human rights, and environmental awareness into school subjects. The curriculum includes academic and co-curricular activities to provide a variety of experiences for learners as well as designed to impart basic life skills that are important for peacebuilding (cooperation, tolerance, identity, appreciation cultural diversity, etc.), and engage learners to enhance their overall positive cognitive, psychosocial and attitudinal transformation (Ministry of Education, Science and Technology [MoEST], 2015).

Prior to the launch of the national curriculum, there were no complete or comprehensive curriculums in South Sudan.  Some schools were using the South Sudan curriculum while others were using curricula from Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia, Sudan, or a hybrid depending on what resources were available and could vary by state.  Funding partnerships for the first national South Sudan curriculum framework included the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID) and UNICEF’s Global Partnership for Education, as well as technical guidance from the Curriculum Foundation of the United Kingdom, and the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD).  The curriculum framework is touted as the key to South Sudan’s national identity and as Maphalala (2015) states:

The curriculum is designed to help young people learn about their shared national identity.  It supports key values for the country including justice, democracy, tolerance and respect; these values need to become an essential part of young people’s lives. Human rights and gender equity must also become the norm.  Young people’s understanding of, and commitment to, these values is essential to the country’s future,      and that’s why they are mainstreamed throughout the curriculum. (n.p.).

It should be noted that funding in the amount of $60 million (USD) is still needed to support the full implementation and produce and distribute resource materials and textbooks (Maphalala, 2015).  The Global Partnership for Education grant allocated $36 million (USD) for 2013-2017 in order to help the South Sudan Ministry of Education develop and implement a more resilient education system.  Of this amount, $15,398,514 (USD) was disbursed, in part to develop the national curriculum, yet no other funds have been disbursed (Global Partnership for Education, 2016).  The Global Partnership for Education (2013) has noted that as of 2012 the South Sudan Ministry of Education budget “goes almost entirely on recurrent expenditure, with almost all development funding coming from development partners” (p. 2).  For example, in the South Sudan draft government budget for 2016/17, education is expected to receive 1,400million (SSP) from the South Sudan government’s resources, out of a total national budget of 22,304million (SSP), which is approximately 6.2 percent for education, an increase from 4.7 percent in the 2015/16 government budget (Dau, 2016).  In the context of United States currency, with an April 2017 exchange rate of USD 1 = SSP 108.5, the South Sudan proposed education budget equates to $12,869,862 (USD) — for the entire country.

As Stephen Dhieu Dau (2016), the South Sudan Minister of Finance & Planning stated in his budget speech to the South Sudan Transitional National Legislature:

Funding continues to be a main challenge in the South Sudan education system.  Turning to the Education Sector, it plans to provide State transfers to pay the salaries of teachers at State level, provide capitation grants to primary schools, and support State and County education departments. It will provide direct support to the functioning of universities and provide teacher training. The Education Sector does not receive any direct donor financing through the budget, but we are grateful for the support of off-budget projects such as the Girl’s Education South Sudan Project, funded by the UK to the value of one billion six hundred and twenty million South Sudanese pounds (SSP 1,620 million), which is providing capitation grants to 145 secondary schools, in tandem with the primary capitation grants provided through the budget. In total, the sector is estimated to receive four billion eight hundred million South Sudanese pounds (SSP 4,800million) of donor support that does not pass through the budget. (p. 17). 

Although there are obvious financial and infrastructure challenges to its education system, to have a public document, such as a national budget, express the support of teacher pay, teacher training, and girls’ education, is a step forward in transforming the need and purpose of education in a country devastated by civil war.

Key Aims of the First National South Sudan Curriculum Framework

The four key aims of the South Sudan curriculum framework are to create (1) good citizens of South Sudan, (2) successful life-long learners, (3) creative and productive individuals, and (4) environmentally responsible members of society (MoEST, 2015).  The phases of education are Early Childhood, ages 3-5; Primary, grades 1-8; and Secondary grades 1-4.  Also, the language of instruction in Early Childhood and Primary 1-3 will be a national language selected by the school to best fit with local needs and circumstances.  The language of instruction for Primary 4-8 will be English with Arabic learned from Primary 5.  The language of instruction in Secondary 1-4 will be English with optional language offerings of Kiswahili and Arabic.

South Sudan’s revised curriculum focuses on promoting national citizenship, unity, and    cohesion, as well as peace education and equity and equality for the status of women.  The ways in which curricula represent historical narratives, citizenship, and identity are key to resolution and peacebuilding, representing one “official” national history or citizenship, or recognizing and legitimizing diverse stories and identities (Daoust & Novelli, 2015).  But who is to teach these narratives and present the diverse stories and identities to maintain and even increase the prosperity and harmony proffered by the South Sudan curriculum framework?  The framework designers and developers promote that the “citizens of South Sudan also need a clear sense of identity and an understanding and appreciation of the rich culture and heritage of their own country” (MoEST, 2015, p. 7), yet the approaches to teaching, learning and assessment do not construct or facilitate how citizenship, identity, and peace education are to be taught.  While state education ministries were involved in curriculum development, county and payam (local government) officials were not, potentially limiting recognition of diverse experiences and identities across places and groups within states (Daoust & Novelli, 2015).  I witnessed this communication disconnect first-hand when I went to visit the county Ministry of Education office with the Executive Director of the NGO funding the school to introduce myself.  We were discussing civic education and they informed us that they had not been in receipt of the circular stating that political education was removed.  To be honest, I wasn’t sure what to believe and did not want to be disrespectful by inquiring further. 

The new curriculum does require a revised version of Civic Education.  In South Sudan, Civic Education was the umbrella under which Geography, History, Christian/Islamic Religious Education, and Political Education were located.  Under the new curriculum framework, these subjects are separated out from Civic Education.   In Secondary 1-2, the required subjects include Religious, Citizenship, History, and Geography Education; and in Secondary 3-4, the required subjects include Religious and Citizenship Education.  All but Citizenship Education are examinable and Peace Education is offered as a non-examinable, extracurricular program.  Also, in Secondary 3-4, History and Geography are optional, non-examinable subjects.

Values and Principles of the First National South Sudan Curriculum Framework

The curriculum is built on a set of values based on a shared commitment of (1) human rights and gender equity, (2) respect and integrity, (3) peace and tolerance, (4) compassion and social justice, and (5) democracy and national pride (MoEST, 2015).  The curriculum is also built on a set of principles to provide (1) a culture of excellence that supports innovation, creativity, continuous improvement and effectiveness; (2) an environment of empowerment that promotes independence, individual learning, critical thinking, problem-solving, and emotional intelligence, (3) a context of South Sudanese heritage and culture that builds national pride and identity within an understanding of global citizenship, and (4) a spirit of hope, respect, peace, reconciliation, unity and national pride, democracy and global understanding (MoEST, 2015).  As South Sudan is in the throws of a devastating, intractable civil war, the timing, promotion, and practice of these values and principles could not come sooner.

Education, Curriculum, and Transformation

Is the purpose of education to be a powerful instrument of transforming a society and how important is the curriculum toward that transformation?  In a conflict-prone society such as South Sudan, can the first, national curriculum developed during the confluence of independence and civil war be a unifier for resolution and development or an enabler of conflict?  As listed in the first, national curriculum framework, the education system in South Sudan is to be directed toward the following goals: (a) eradicate illiteracy, improve employability of young people and adults and promote lifelong learning for all citizens; (b) provide equitable access to learning opportunities for all citizens to redress the past inequalities in education provision; (c) achieve equity and promote gender equality and the advancement of the status of women; (d) contribute to the personal development of each learner and to the moral, social, cultural, political and economic development of the nation; (e) promote national unity and cohesion; (f) enhance the quality of education and encourage a culture of innovation and continuous school improvement and effectiveness; and (g) develop and promote a general scientific approach in education (MoEST, 2015).  These goals are laudable, and if they can reflect a country’s socioeconomic development status, place the education system in a powerful position of creating a future that can unite its people and transform a conflict-prone country into a peaceful and productive South Sudan.  But what happens when the future is uncertain?  In an intractable civil war, is the education system and a national curriculum allowed to function as unifiers toward peace or are they both manipulated by external and internal stakeholders toward self-serving goals, preparing students, teachers, families, and communities for disappointment, anger, and retaliation toward a system that may fail them more than support them?  In this challenge, South Sudan can come across as two-sided; on one side the government promotes education for all, accepting, supporting, and promoting development, funding, and resources to transform its citizens, and therefore South Sudan, into a future of education and employment choices; and on the other side continue a civil war that requires its citizens to serve as fuel for the war, negating their human rights, including the right of education.

Schiefelbein and McGinn (2017) state, in regards to learning to educate and the reconstruction of education in developing countries, that the perceived relevance of education as a societal transformer is that:           

By improving and reforming instruction, many people (and especially politicians) claim,    a society can remake itself: Underdeveloped nations can compete with advanced industrialized nations, and backward societies can leap into the 21st century.  The failure to provide sufficient instruction of high quality, it is said, is a major cause of underdevelopment, of nations’ inability to compete in a globalizing economy, of the failure of attempts to establish democracy (p. 215).

Does this then create myths of the power and validity of education and curriculum as a societal transformer and peacebuilder?  I agree with Schiefelbein and McGinn (2017) that part of the challenge is in defining what needs to change and how to recognize the change, yet I would also add that who decides and controls what changes in education and curriculum is a more powerful driver toward transformation or conflict.  As Degu (2005) states:

The issue is not only the allocation of educational opportunities in favor of specific groups by the people in power but also the control of the content of education to make it reflect their own culture at the cost of other cultures.  It is, therefore, crucial to understand that conflict over education is also conflict over political and economic power as well as over cultural development and identity (p. 138).

At the local level, how much influence did teachers, students, families, and community leaders have on creating a national curriculum that recognizes the diverse ethnic, linguistic, and tribal populations?  On the Global Partnership for Education (a funding partner in the curriculum development) press release celebrating the curriculum launch, Maphalala (2015) stated:

Due to displacement as a result of the conflict in December 2013, the major challenge was to track local subject experts, to ensure representation of all ten States in the training and subsequent curriculum writing workshops that were organized periodically in Juba. By April 2014, through various networks and tracking modalities including ‘word of mouth’, key specialists had been mobilized, forming a team of 140 who worked on the formal sub-system curriculum (early childhood, primary and secondary).  Then in January 2015 work on the alternative system (accelerated learning program and Community Girls Schools) started with 60 curriculum experts, teachers and alternative education practitioners (n.p.).

This approach to collaborative teamwork and the challenges presented by an intractable civil war does support that the needs and voices of those at the local level were considered and it would be beneficial to make available the processes for this accomplishment so that other education specialists may analyze and adapt, if relevant to their needs.  Yet, I do wonder what the hierarchy for review was and who actually “owns” the curriculum?  The press release stated that the “South Sudan’s curriculum review process was initiated with DFID support and then as part of the Global Partnership for Education program” (Maphalala, 2015).  As discussed in Wong’s (2013) article on the concept of “local ownership” in peacebuilding, the question of defining who are the locals helps to understand the influence South Sudan had on developing and being able to implement and sustain this new national curriculum and how education can lead to peacebuilding and transformation.  If the locals are the MoEST, then we need to identify and understand their primary focus and priorities toward education.  An example would be focusing on statistical agendas to improve access to education that support continual external funding as the South Sudan government has little funding for a sustainable education system.  If the locals are the civil society members such as tribal communities, then their primary focus and priorities toward education may be to promote local language or mother tongue instruction in the curriculum framework.

            A curriculum framework, particularly one developed and influenced by outside stakeholders in collaboration with the South Sudan MoEST, may be framed from a western societal lens of what should be taught and how and why, rather than from a South Sudanese (and more broadly, African) societal lens.  If societal change can occur by increasing and improving general levels of knowledge and ability as well as what content is taught and how, then value levels may be placed on particular content subjects over others.

For example, in the first, national South Sudan curriculum framework, Citizenship as a subject is not taught at the Early Childhood (age3-5) or Primary (grades 1-8) levels.  The Secondary (high school) level Citizenship subject is a required subject for all four years of the curriculum, yet it is not an examinable subject.  As stated in the MoEST (2015) framework, “Citizenship is an essential part of education and will be taken by all learners, but not as an examinable subject” (p. 14).  As a former secondary social sciences classroom teacher, I know from experience that the non-examinable subjects may not get as many resources, including funding, or teacher training, or much preparation or emphasis by teachers or administrators, as opposed to examinable subjects. 

There are two aspects of the Citizenship curriculum that I find concerning.  First, there have been several western development partners such as DFID and UNICEF who assisted in developing this first national curriculum so that it can support a democratically run South Sudan, yet Citizenship, although a required subject, is not examinable, thus possibly reducing positive citizen engagement and participation.  Second, in South Sudan only 13% of primary schools offer the full primary cycle, grades 1 to 8; the completion rate in primary schools is less than 10%; only 33% of girls are in schools; and since 2013, more than 413,000 children have been forced from school and 331 schools have been destroyed (MoEST, 2016; UNICEF, 2014).  Therefore, if the students are not taught Citizenship education at the primary level and if the majority of students, especially girls, do not advance to the secondary level, then they will not have access to formal instruction on Citizenship or the collaborative subjects of Peace Education and Environment and Sustainability (Table 1), which could assist in fulfilling their roles toward transforming South Sudan and themselves. 

Yet, as Lederach (1997) explores, there are opportunities outside of the formal curriculum that can make peacebuilding and transformation through education possible.  From a sociocultural lens, “people and their various cultural traditions for building peace are also primary resources” (p. 87), and “the greatest resource for sustaining peace in the long term is always rooted in the local people and their culture” (p.94).  For example, in the secondary level Citizenship curriculum, Secondary 1-3, Unit 7 (Table 1) requires involvement in a community project.  This could be a way to unite the formal and informal curriculum and bring in the broader local community to guide the students toward projects that are necessary or situated in a local context, thereby connecting the formal curriculum and community needs in a cycle of education as a transformer of peace and sustainability.  This process still allows for external and domestic funding and support, yet the drivers are at the local level with their own knowledge and ideas that move empowerment for positive change forward.

 

Table 1

South Sudan Secondary Level Citizenship Subject Curriculum

Secondary 1

Unit

Title

1

Human rights and the criminal justice system

2

The key characteristics of parliamentary and other forms of government

3

Local government: How decisions are made at a local level.

4

Government: priorities, finance and the opportunity to contribute

5

The community and the environment: the importance of sustainability

6

The electoral system and the importance of voting

7

Involvement in a community project

Secondary 2

Unit

Title

1

How communities function and how community action can be taken

2

Conflict resolution: at the local, national and international level

3

Know about key advocates for non-violence in South Sudan and the world.

4

Developing informed arguments.

5

The work of Parliament and the courts in making laws

6

The world as a global community: from the East African Federation to the UN

7

Involvement in a community project

Secondary 3

Unit

Title

1

Opportunities for individuals and groups to bring about social change

2

Legal and human rights at a national and international level

3

The significance of the media in society

4

Working together to bring about change

5

HIV/AIDS and the role of the media and voluntary groups to bring about change.

6

Linking environmental conservation to peace

7

Involvement in a community project

Secondary 4

Unit

Title

1

Charters for peace and conflict resolution.

2

Systems of government around the world

3

How the economy functions in South Sudan and elsewhere

4

The rights and responsibilities of consumers, employers and employees

5

Peace Making

6

The need for sustainable development.

7

Organising a community project

Note. Adapted from The Republic of South Sudan Ministry of Education, Science & Technology Curriculum Framework (MoEST, 2015).

 

Therefore, how education transforms society can be examined from two approaches.  The first is that school changes only individuals and then once immersed in adult society, the individuals act to transform society.  The second is that the content and structure of the education system have a direct and institutional effect on society –– the education system through programs and content, defines for society what is important to know and learn (Schiefelbein & McGinn, 2017).  If interconnected appropriately, both approaches could define education as a positive transformer for South Sudan.

Conclusion and Recommendations

Since 2013, the South Sudan civil war has played a large role in the successes and failures of the education system.  There needs to be a refocus that allows the education system, the national curriculum, and stakeholders at all levels to serve as transformers and unifiers with the people of South Sudan.  Imagine an education system and curriculum that serve as a peace agreement –– a peace agreement that is adaptable and designed to address the short-, mid, and long-term goals of peace, sustainability, and opportunity. 

One recommendation is to revise the Early Childhood and Primary levels to include Citizenship Education and to make it a compulsory and service learning driven subject.  It is one thing to teach citizenship, it is quite another to practice it.  Teaching Citizenship Education at the Early Childhood level can also empower students from a young age and help them develop critical thinking skills that allow them to navigate between and situate themselves within school, family, community, state, country, and global contexts.  The good news is that the curriculum is there, starting from scratch should not be necessary, and the South Sudan government, at least publically, supports the first, national curriculum. 

A second recommendation is to promote the education system as a transformer and unifier of peace by consistently supporting and evaluating a curriculum that is designed to produce a citizenry who think and act as equal and equitable citizens of South Sudan.  Whether through the formal or informal curriculum, through debate programs, radio plays, service learning, or class lessons.  South Sudan is a communal society and promoting that sense of community as peace rather than violence driven can allow education to serve a greater purpose towards positive societal transformation. 

A challenge to this is that while the interim Transitional Constitution (Government of Southern Sudan, 2011) does define equality, and domestic and international laws are in place to assist in application, the rule of law in South Sudan is almost non-existent and with that, culture supersedes the rule of law.  For example, females are to be equal to males, yet in South Sudan, females have been used as property and sold by families under a cultural dowry system in order for families to survive.  Families may not prioritize girls’ education, or if girls are in school, they may be forced to leave by their families because they have been sold into marriage.  Again, the necessary laws and curriculum exist, yet there is a need to improve the enforcement of rule of law, negotiate for the necessity of girls’ (and boys!) education, and to see education in a structural frame as it relates to societal transformation.  As Ricigliano (2012) states:

It is helpful in making the shift from seeing the world only in a moralistic frame and debating who is correct to seeing it as also in a structural frame and defining the problem without attributing rightness or wrongness … Almost any dispute, conflict, or important issue involves differing perceptions.  As such, the situation can be framed as a group of people struggling to overcome their perceptions in order to find a common answer to a difficult problem.  Again, this does not solve the issue, but it often helps key people work together collaboratively (p. 217).

Currently in South Sudan, war and violence are used as a means of solving problems, yet education can play a crucial role to change such an attitude, especially the attitude of the youth (Degu, 2005). 

A final recommendation is the need to interconnect education and economic development.  They can’t be in silos and then have stakeholders wondering why the education system is not working.  As Degu (2005) states: “The expansion of education without the corresponding economic development has and will have negative political repercussions rather than help national development” (p. 141).  The national curriculum needs to be intertwined with economic development.  Business, maths, languages, physics, chemistry, biology, arts, and social sciences can all be connected toward economic development and vocational skills training.  South Sudan will not transform from violence to peace if there are no opportunities, especially for the youth population.  If there are no opportunities, then why go to school, or why send girls to school.  Even when students graduate from secondary school, there are few opportunities as ethnicity and corruption are current suppliers of employment opportunities.  Entrepreneurship is viable activity in South Sudan, and connecting the education system and curriculum with economic development can drive infrastructure development, transforming and propelling South Sudan forward over time. 

And while it may appear that South Sudan has run out of time and is destined for additional generations of war and violence, the first, national curriculum framework can and should be fully funded and implemented –– it exists and is supported because it is needed.  And just because it may take more time than initially thought, it should not be given up on, nor should the citizens it is intended to teach.


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