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Govt rolls out printed Arabic language, Islamic textbooks

Author: Moyo Jacob | Published: Thursday, May 23, 2024

VP Hussein Abdelbagi scans through content of the textbooks|Photo taken by Moyo Jacob on Thursday, 23 , 05,2024

South Sudan on Thursday launched the first-ever textbooks for Arabic language and Islamic Religious Education for use in primary and secondary schools.

When the Ministry of General Education and Instruction developed syllabuses and textbooks for all subjects, textbooks for Arabic language and Islamic Religious Education were not done.

That then prompted the government to seek possible approaches with the national experts in developing the materials to support learning.

In her remarks at the launch of the materials, Minister Awut Deng Acuil says the development of the books is in line with South Sudan’s Education Language Policy she says attempts to celebrate linguistic diversity.

Awut said her institution is working hard to ensure there is an inclusive curriculum that fosters the transformation of societies to become more cohesive and united.

“Today, South Sudan is celebrating the first launch of Arabic Language and Islamic Religious materials to be used in our schools from Primary to Secondary.

“South Sudan, as a multi-ethnic and multilingual society, embraces all its cultures and languages. Thus, South Sudan’s education language policy attempts to celebrate our linguistic diversity.

“Whereas the English language is used as a medium of instruction from Primary 4, the national languages such as Zande, Bari, Dinka, Nuer and Toposa, are used as a medium of instruction from Primary One to Primary Three.

“In Secondary Schools, Kiswahili and French are also taught. The Ministry of General Education is working hard to ensure that we have an inclusive curriculum that should foster the transformation of our society to become more cohesive and united,” she said.

On her part, UNICEF Country Representative Hamida Lasseko said besides the printing of the materials, there is a need to train more teachers to enhance learning.

“They have taken a lot of efforts but as the previous speaker said, the number and percentage of teachers trained is still a challenge and we have to continue together to support and have trained teachers.

She also urges the State Ministers of Education to ensure the textbooks are not kept in stores but reach the learners.

“In a number of times, we found some of the books are just in the stores. So, my urge again to all the Ministers at the States level, make sure when those books come to you, they reach the children, they do not stay in the stores and then they get destroyed,” she said.

South Sudan started reviewing its new curriculum in 2012 and drew on key legal and policy documents, mainly the constitution, the General Education Act, of 2012 and the General Education Strategy Plan.

In November 2013, a workshop was conducted to validate the new curriculum framework under the auspices of President Salva Kiir and brought together at least 500 participants.

During the conference, the vast majority voted for the Arabic language to be introduced as a compulsory subject from Primary five to eight and an optional subject in Secondary School.

In October 2015, the new curriculum framework was launched and on that same day, the country celebrated the introduction of its first comprehensive competency-based national curriculum.

But for Arabic language and Islamic Religious Education were not done.

It was suggested that there were no experts to develop materials for the two subjects and since then, the ministry held several consultative meetings and visits to Sudan and Egypt to develop the materials.

However, despite all the efforts, nothing materialized and that prompted the ministry to mobilize national experts to develop the Arabic language and Islamic Religious materials.

The Ministry embarked on the process to develop the textbooks for the two subjects on June 01, 2021, and that brought together educationalists, professors, nuns and experts to undertake the task.

The first draft of the textbook materials was ready by July 10, 2021, and following the preparation for the drafts, the government requested editorial support from Sudan later convened their work in Juba in August and completed the task the same year.

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