American tycoon sponsors 15 S. Sudanese teachers

At least 15 South Sudanese secondary school teachers have been selected for a four-month training course at the United States-based Arizona University. January 7, 2015 (JUBA) – 

Edward Eisele, an US-based tycoon, will sponsor the teachers under South Sudan Fellow Education program.

The initiative offers opportunities for educators to enhance their skills and leadership, which are essential for developing the new nation.

The teachers, education officials said, will head to Arizona State’s Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College and participate in “preparing South Sudan’s next generation of educational leaders” program.

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Teachers graduating after in-service training in Malek secondary school in Bor.

South Sudan’s education minister, John Gai Yol, said the scholarship would benefit more South Sudanese students when the teachers return at the end four months-long training focusing on in-depth curriculum development and other aspects like teacher leadership, equity, technology, and effective instructional methods.

He said teaching was no longer an attractive profession due to low pay, but promised that the education ministry would do everything possible to change this trend.

“Educating more children would help stamp out the sectarianism and tribal- based violence that emerged during the one year old conflict,” he stressed.

Umia Elijah Waren, one of the beneficiaries, said government should position long term strategies to address existing gaps in the education sector by developing teachers.

“The American people and the other people will not continue to take people outside [the country] because it is very costly,” said Waren, a teacher from Juba Girls’ secondary school.

“I think the ministry could look at ways certain resource centers could be put in here and then the few can be used to get this information benefit the bigger part of the country,” he added.

Michael McCarthy, the deputy chief of mission at the United States Embassy in Juba, congratulated the fellows.

McCarthy said American tycoon knows the significance of nurturing more well-trained teachers to support South Sudanese children.

“He could have done anything with this money. He could have, I don’t know, bought a hotel but you know what, he didn’t do that. He chose to spend that money on you because he has faith in you,” he said.

The 15 teachers, among them two females, will return to the young nation in May.

Recent studies reportedly showed that education was one of the main priorities for the people of South Sudan as communities see it as the most important peace dividend.

Sadly, however, South Sudan’s education indicators remain among the worst in the world, despite increases in school enrolment over the past few years. It is estimated that more than one million primary school aged children, mostly from rural areas, are not in school, while the few schools that do exist are not conducive to learning.