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Tuesday, 17 October 2017

The Reinstatement of Sudan's Former School Curriculum

I was appalled some days ago by the bad performance and the poor knowledge of some Sudanese learners about basic geographical facts pertaining to their   country of origin. The lesson was centering on geographical directions in English. I drew the map of the post separation Sudan in the blackboard then I asked the learners to point some Sudanese big cities according to their geographical locations. The first answer was awfully saddening. The respondent confidently named Juba as a city in Southern Sudan. This doesn’t only mean a geographical ignorance but also a historical one given the fact that separation wasn't a distant history but a very recent occasion in which the indelible ink has barely dried from the fingers of the voting dreamy south Sudanese electorate. Most of the class failed miserably to name major cities in Sudan .The group age of my class falls within the one who went to school after the change of the curricula and educational ladder in early nineties  which is sarcastically dubbed (people of class eight).
Sudanese people in general  and educationalists in particular have breathed the sigh of relief when news of reinstatement of the old curriculum circulated first as rumours .Nowadays the rumours changed into visible facts because the very old curriculum books  is  cramming the shelves of bookshops and bookstores all over the country awaiting to be taught in the next  school year. The hands of shopping people turn the pages of these books in order to dispel their doubts about the credibility of the news .Nostalgic discussions about this change fill the air. social media oftentimes furnish it's followers with book covers carrying the beloved illustrations reminiscent of nice old days.
Thanks God the  names of old school subjects  are being reinstated like history and geography  in place of the awkward and irrelevant names like  (Malbasuna) meaning our clothes, (Maskanuna) meaning our accommodation. Pupils of class four in the former primary school stage were better of in terms of their general geographical information than some of  today's university graduates because they were  taught the highly acclaimed book of geography  (The means of livelihoods in Sudan) which was authored by the renowned Sudanese educationalist Mr Abelrahman Ali Taha who used to be the vice- chancellor of  the  most prestigious educational institute in Africa and the Arab world  the then Bakht Alruda institute in Alduem . I was  one of the lucky pupils  who were taught this book .We used to wait excitedly for the geography teacher who would take us in an imaginary journeys to friends in different corners of Sudan from the Northern dates town of Algolid were we ate the  delicacy food   KABIDA  to our friend in the breakaway South Sudan Mango Zimbiri where we enjoyed his staple food BAFRA .These imaginary journeys were still ingrained in our memories by the well-rhymed songs which are still fresh up to date and can be easily invoked whenever a name of a town crosses the mind or being verbally uttered .
The same goes for other subjects.  Great remedial operations bordering on surgical ones are needed to be carried out to overhaul the educational process, above all the school environment. Most schools of today lack space .provision of this space is paramount. The first thing a visitor to a basic school   notices is the narrowness of the space about one thousand pupils can be crammed into 500 meters building. In spite of this limited space the pupils excel sadly academically .I hope the coming change involves the non-class activities which include sports, library, the wall newspapers and literary associations. Surely such  a comeback  is demanding in terms of  financial and human resources but the gains overweight the pains.