Education, News

SOUTH SUDAN: Academics sound alarm over school syllabus errors

By William Madouk Garang

Mathematics academics at the University of Juba have expressed concern over series of errors and technical mistakes in the newly unified South Sudan General Education Curriculum (SSGEC).

The academicians from the department of mathematics, School of Education at the University of Juba, said the new syllabus – especially that of Primary 8 Mathematics textbook has a lot of mistakes – hence not fit for use without revision.

Mathematics experts; Helicopter Mark Bulbul, William Deng Tap, and Biar Simon Ajang are worried that the erroneousness of the syllabus would likely affect the professional future of South Sudanese students.

According to them, page 65 of primary 8 Mathematics textbook contains at least eight Mathematics content errors especially Algebra in unit 4.

“We have embarked on research in July 2022, after getting complaints from P.8 pupils about serious textbook errors; especially in Mathematics. We spotted a stark mistake on page 65 of P.8 Mathematics textbook” expert Mark Bul Bul who spoke on behalf of the other three mathematicians told No.1 Citizen Daily Newspaper on Friday 6th January 2023.

Bulbul described the identified mistakes in the syllabus as a mere eye opener – adding that students are being fed with wrong content which would affect their future.

“This is just a sample but if the textbooks are to be reviewed deeply, a lot of mistakes would be discovered. Our concern though is with the textbook of primary eight. We are sure there are many more errors in the other textbooks for the rest of the subjects and classes” he further explained.

Mark said they are apprehensive that the curriculum was wrongly designed or wrongly presented. According to them, serious mistakes should be blamed on subject matter expertise, and Ministry of General Education.

The experts maintained that the discovered errors could be either of typos, carelessness, or pure incompetence, or combination of all these scenarios.

“When the background or base is not strong; it means you are giving wrong content to the students. These errors point to an apparent lack of competence or professionalism on the part of the hired content-subject matter experts (SME), who were likely hand-picked by the ministry to prepare the content of the subject” he noted.

The experts similarly are afraid that the textbooks might have been developed from somewhere.

“This curriculum might have been designed somewhere and then brought here. We need something which can be designed here to suit our system of education in South Sudan – that is what we are targeting” Bulbul stressed.

To remedy the malady, Bul Bul said they suggested that the new curriculum be revised and errors erased to meet global standard syllabuses.

“We recommend that all our new SSGEC’s textbooks be updated to acceptable world-class standards so as to minimize the existence of such embarrassing errors,”

“Just as is often the case with other world-class peer-reviewed publication, our new curriculum textbooks should be put under similar process of continuous reviews, regular revisions and renovations as this process helps maintain the quality of our new SSGEC curriculum textbooks” he elucidated.

The trio mathematics’ specialists on another note urged the national government to avail funds to allow national experts to thoroughly review all textbooks and amend the mistakes.

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