United Nations peacekeepers stationed in South Sudan's Aweil area have started giving English and Mathematics lessons to students at Aweil Secondary School, to fill a gap left by teachers who have abandoned the profession.
“Today I am so happy and so glad to receive the teachers from UNMISS coming to assist us with some subjects like English, History, Christian Religion Education and Mathematics,” said 19-year-old Mary Kide, a female student of Form Four who aspires to be a journalist after completing her university.
And it seems the Ghanaian peacekeepers will continue the teaching program till the end of the 2019 academic year.
“Our teachers have suffered without being supported,” said 18-year-old student of Form Four, Joseph Angok. “I hope the peacekeepers will continue teaching us. They should not stop,” urged Angok.
Aweil Secondary School is a national government institute. However, due to low and delayed salaries most of the teachers abandoned the school seeking higher wages in international organizations operating in the area.
“Well, we have been facing problems in our teaching structures,” said 18-year-old Akuel Elizabeth, another female student of Form Four who will sit for her final exams of the South Sudan Secondary School Certificate next year – a gateway to university or higher learning institution.
For 23-year-old Wol Anei, the coming in of the teachers from the United Nations peacekeeping mission is very critical for the development of the students.
“They will assist our only teacher who teaches almost all the subjects in different classes,” he said.
The headmaster of the School, Philip Ajang, who acknowledges the shortage of teaching staff, says more support is required, as he spreads a catalogue of the things the school urgently needs.
“We need the compound of the school to be fenced,” says Ajang. “We need chalk, pens, and papers,” pleads the headmaster.
As the peacekeepers step in to bridge the gap in provision of this crucial service, they have a message for the students.
“Education has no end, education is never a waste,” says Lieutenant Abdul Rahim Yamusah who takes charge of the English language. “You must bear in mind that your learning here is for your own future.”
The peacekeepers are collaborating with the Ministry of Education in carrying out this project.