Sudan: Local languages in schools to promote better understanding

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With effect from the 2010 academic year, mother languages will be included in southern Sudan’s school curricula.

Southern Sudan nationals have expressed satisfaction over the introduction of local languages into their school curricula by the ministry of education. They say it will help their children to study better.

Amos Longwa, a parent and also chairperson of Magwe parents association in southern Sudan said, “We are happy about the development. English is a foreign language which is not easliy learnt by children in primary schools. The children will learn better in their local languages.”

The Minister of Education in the southern Sudan, Job Dhoruai, said during an interview that “the introduction of mother tongue languages into the curricula, in primary one to primary three levels, is in accordance with the Comprehensive Peace Agreement.

The government is committed to the language policy. The teaching of mother tongue during the formative years in school can increase children’s understanding.”

He said that encouraging mother tongue use is also the easiest way to end illiteracy in the Southern Sudan.

This effort has been praised by observers who believe that local languages as part of a wider school curricula will also help students discover the various mindsets that constitute their environment and promote national cohesion.

Among the languages to start with is the Muru language. Over eight thousand text books in Muru have been produced by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology.

Simon Okello, a primary teacher in Bol primary school in southern Sudan said “It has not been easy to teach in English in primary one and two. Introducing local languages in primary schools will make our work easier.”

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