August 24, 2017
The 5th SMASESS workshop
From 16th to 24th August 2017, the technical cooperation for Strengthening Mathematics and Science Education in South Sudan (SMASESS) held its 5th workshop in Kampala, Uganda. There were 14 participants, 8 mathematics and 6 science SMASESS team members, from the Ministry of General Education and Instruction, Teacher Training Institute (TTIs) and University of Juba and each team was led by Director General.
At the opening of the 5th workshop, Ms. Tomomi Uchikawa, Senior Representative of JICA South Sudan pointed out "All of SMASESS members have a crucial mission to improve quality of mathematics and science education in South Sudan and also to make TTI student-teacher friendly materials".
In July 2016, Dr. Chisato Tanaka, JICA expert, was dispatched to South Sudan to strengthen mathematics and science education in South Sudan. Just after her arrival, however, all JICA-related Japanese experts and staff were forced to leave Juba due to the erupted conflict. Then Dr. Tanaka was dispatched to Uganda in November 2016 and has been working in Kampala, Uganda, as the other technical cooperation such as trainings and seminars to South Sudan has been currently implemented in neighboring countries including Uganda. In the 1st workshop in December 2016, supported by the strong initiative "Education cannot wait!" of Hon. Micheal Lopuke Lotyam, Undersecretary of the Ministry, the activity plan was formulated.
Supporting mathematics and science materials for Term 2
In the process of supporting material development for TTI student-teachers, weekly videoconferences connecting Kampala and Juba and daily mobile and e-mail communication are used, besides workshops in Kampala, Uganda once in two months. The workshop is a valuable chance for both SMASESS members and Dr Tanaka to meet in person and is always full of heated discussions which sometimes continue until late in the evening. In order to make learners find "mathematics and science are fun!" and ‘think', mathematics and science supporting materials for TTI student-teachers for term 2 have been developed by SMASESS team members and used as trial in two TTIs, namely Maper TTI and Rombur TTI.
This 5th workshop is to develop supporting materials for TTI student-teachers for term 3 that starts from October. During this workshop, participants have shared findings from their monitoring on usage of supporting materials for term 2 at TTIs, and those findings have been reflected and incorporated into the contents of materials for term 3. In addition, the supporting materials are developed considering gender balance. For example, names for girls and boys are used with equal frequency and name for female is used for sample question in which a radio is purchased, contrary to a general perception where a male is supposed to purchase a radio.
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). 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, only 38% of whom are trained. Inadequate knowledge and skills of teachers to teach mathematics and science practically is another challenge. JICA has continuously supported the technical cooperation for SMASESS to realize the improvement of quality of math and science education in South Sudan.