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September 16, 2022

Make Science and Mathematics Fun for All

The education system in South Sudan is primary education for 8 years (free and compulsory education), secondary education for 4 years, and higher education for 4 years (8-4-4). According to United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the number of primary school pupils has increased from 0.3 million in 2005 to 1.3 million in 2015, while the number of primary school teachers is 28,957 in 2015 due to independence of South Sudan in 2011. However, there were issues of education quality: over 60% of primary schools teachers did not receive any training at all, or even the teachers who received training did not obtain a formal license, thus the majority of in-service teachers had difficulties in understanding the subjects and mastering teaching skills.

PhotoTeachers' Training Models

To resolve such problems, there was a need to focus on developing quality and professional skills of teachers within South Sudan primary school education sector. Thus, teacher's training was vital to support long-term and continuous professional development. Particularly to realize the improvement of quality of mathematics and science education; deficiency of knowledge and teaching skills of teachers was apparent regardless of qualifications, and it was essential to improve their teaching skills in the subjects of Science and Mathematics.

Under such circumstance, South Sudan Government requested for a technical cooperation project to the Japanese Government through JICA. Then, in November 2009 by cooperation with JICA a technical cooperation project titled "Strengthening Mathematics and Science Education in South Sudan (SMASESS)" was launched together with the Ministry of General Education and Instruction (MOGEI). The technical cooperation project was implemented in three phases concluding on March 2022.

During phase 1 (2009-2013) SMASESS project developed training system and models of In Services Training (IN-SET) for teachers. The trainings were 2 weeks trainings for 3 years (Cycle 1-3) through cascade system. The training targeted teachers from 5 models states and 5 other states in South Sudan. The project further applied ASEI (Activity, Student-centered, Experiment, Improvisation) - PDSI (Plan, Do, See, and Improve) approach to make science and mathematics fun and enjoyable for teachers and students.

PhotoSMASESS team at State trainers workshop

The overall goal of SMASESS project is to support primary school teachers across South Sudan by establishing teacher training implementation structure, enhancing the capacity of national/state trainers, developing curricula and evaluation tools, and providing training for model teachers selected from all the states. This was made possible by developing SMASESS unit in MOGEI that comprised of 9 National and 70 State trainers. SMASESS unit was able to train 1,361 teachers in phase 1 through a pilot project that targeted Ten States and Teachers training Institutes (TTI) in Rombur (Juba), Maper (Awiel) and Maridi (Yambio).

In addition, SMASESS phase 2 (2016-2018) aimed to incorporate the achievement of its activities and align it with South Sudan's competency base curriculum. Furthermore, TTIs conducted teachers training programs and sensitize stakeholders and the public on the importance of teacher's development programs. The project further developed ‘Student Teachers' Support Materials for Teaching Primary School Pupils for Science and Mathematics'. These support materials were used to train primary school teachers and tutors to further enhance their teaching skills for Science and Mathematics subjects. Such approach was essential because it was able to introduce learner-centered approach that ensures ‘learning' through hands-on and minds-on activities improving the learning experience for science and mathematics students. Moreover, through hands-on and minds-on lessons activities science and mathematics was made fun for all; SAMSESS unit simplified both math and science by using indigenous names, plants, and materials that are common in South Sudan to explain and introduce math and science concepts within supplementary materials for teachers and leaners. The project also developed approaches and tips to teach difficult topics for pupils through lesson study in selected primary schools. This method was key in building a closer relationship between SMASESS unit, teachers in targeted schools, education offices, Juba City Council, and three State MOGEI.

To ensure the sustainability of SMASESS project, MOGEI established Department of Science and Mathematics under Teacher Development and Management Service (TDMS) Directorate in 2018. The department comprised of 5 full time staff headed by current SMASESS unit director, 10 part time members (from Curriculum, Examination, Rumbur TTI and University of Juba).

PhotoScience and Mathematics Supplementary Materials for Teachers

PhotoScience and Mathematics Supplementary Materials for learners

PhotoScience and Mathematics Supplementary Materials distributed to learners

During SMASESS phase 3 (2019-2023) implementation stage, all activities of SMASESS project were interrupted due to COVID-19 pandemic, schools were closed and the Japanese educational expert had to work remotely from Japan. Despite these challenges, SMASESS unit was able to continue the project by developing Science and Mathematics Supplementary Materials for Teachers and Learners; this initiative was in line with MOGEI ‘Education on Air' program. The developing of Supplementary Materials targeted learners from 7 public primary schools in 3 States (Central Equatoria, Western Equatoria, and Northern Bahr el Ghazal), this selection was made with the expectation that pupils from P4-P7 are able to use the Supplementary Materials by themselves (at homes/class rooms) with minimum assistance from their teachers.

PhotoJICA, MOGIE, SMASESS team & State Trainers

After developing of the Supplementary Materials for Science and Mathematics JICA together with MOGEI printed and distributed 120 copies each for P4-P7 for 14 schools, 200 copies each for 3 National Teacher Training Institutes and 50 copies each for 2 County Education Centers in 3 states. JICA will continuously supported the technical cooperation to realize the improvement of quality of education in South Sudan.


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