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Sudan Tribune

Plural news and views on Sudan

Rumbek Secondary School: Shall its past glory be restored?

By Manyang Mayom

Aug 11, 2006 (RUMBEK) — Since 1997 where the town is under the control of the SPLM, the first idea that came to southern educators and intellectuals was the restoration of Rumbek Secondary School to its former glory. Founded in 1947, the only secondary school in the south came to be known as the torch bearer for southern education.

Rumbek academic achievements were impressive. It laid the ground base for the southern education by the performance of its students who likened it to some form of college because of its high standards. A Rumbek “O” levels failure was normally sufficiently educated. He would get good employment as a clerk or an intermediate school teacher.

Now the school is functioning with over a thousand students or pupils mainly from greater Bahr el Ghazal and a few from the Upper Nile and Nuba Mountain. From the past many years these students were boarders living on their own .They paid for their food and one way or another make ends meet. Worst still, there are no teachers .Those teaching in the different branches of sciences are mainly volunteers who have different professions elsewhere in Rumbek or “A” level holders from East Africa. This is how the school scrapped on over the years.

However, a change for the better came only recently with the visit to Rumbek by the First Vice-President and President of South Sudan H.E Salva Kiir Mayardit on July 11th. He visited the school and promised the school boys that the GoSS will undertake to restore the school to its former glory by bringing in qualified teachers and regular meals. And true to his word, H.E translated that promise into action. On the fifth of the current August, meals were served for the first time in the school. It is only lunch and dinner.

This was a very welcome development considering the years in which the students of Rumbek agonized over the payment of fees and feeding oneself from your own resources. Students used to depend on one meal only and few ate two meals because our people had finally understood the value of education. They must therefore, persevere.

The GoSS has sent an educational delegation to Kenya to negotiate and conclude a cooperation agreement that includes educational exchange between the two countries.

This would mean qualified teachers will soon be in Rumbek Secondary School .Teachers who would , hopefully work to raise its current standard which is woefully down to critical levels . A Rumbek Secondary School pupil of today is barely able to express himself in good English whether he is in form 1 or 4 , the standard is regrettable .Another positive sign is that students of Rumbek have started to organize by electing their offices .

As for the school itself, only the Northern parts which mainly contain the administrative offices, classes and some dormitories had been restored. But the main dormitories to the south of the school compound are in ruins. The corrugated iron is torn off and Nim trees have grown inside these boarding houses to their maximum heights. Yet, the walls are still intact. Before the fall of Rumbek to the SPLM, Rumbek Secondary School was the army headquarters with signs where the ditches had been that could still be seen. In addition to dissembled tanks and artillery pieces that had become obsolete. You can still see these pieces of scrap iron strewn all over the place and recognize them from their shells.

This had been a battle tank and this had been an artillery piece. Now that a new lease of life had breathed into Rumbek, let us keep our fingers crossed that Rumbek SC shall be as it had been: a glorious school that had passed out generations of Southern intelligentsia.

(ST)

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