SPLM-IO condemns gov’t decision to exempt students in opposition-controlled areas from exams
Opposition spokesman says government decision is “politically motivated” and urged the ministry of education to revoke the widely condemned move that many have categorized as politicization of education.
South Sudan’s main armed opposition group, SPLM-IO, led by the country First Vice President Dr. Riek Machar Teny has condemned last week’s government decision to exempt – from national examinations – students from SPLM-IO controlled areas citing an alleged insecurity that it says threatens examinations’ credibility.
On Thursday, the Minister of General Education and Instruction Awut Deng Acuil issued a press statement announcing government decision to ban students from opposition-controlled parts of Jonglei state from taking national exams citing insecurity saying members of a government firm preparing exams were detained by opposition soldiers.
“Given this brief backdrop, the South Sudan National Examinations Council and the Ministry of General Education and Instruction have been alerted of possible examination security threats in most of the SPLM-IO bases in parts of Jonglei and Upper Nile State. Case in point is the recent detention of Staff belonging to an agent contracted by the National Ministry of General Education and Instruction to pay teachers’ incentives in Nyiror in Jonglei State,” Ms Acuil said in the statement on Thursday.
“Therefore, since I have already raised a red flag over this security concern, and the Primary eight examinations are set to begin in literally four days from today, I am afraid to state that pupils in these locations will have to needlessly miss out on their examinations due to the unresolved security concerns,” she added.
Reacting to the government decision, SPLM-IO director of information and public relations, Puok Both Baluang, told Sudans Post in a statement that the main armed opposition group believes that the decision by the ministry of education is politically motivated terming it a grave violation of the right of the children of South Sudan to education pointing out that the ministry didn’t consulted SPLM-IO on teh matter and the alleged threats.
“We believe the taken by the Ministry of Education is might be politically motivated. The decision is a grave violation to the rights of Education to the pupils in question. The Ministry Education did not contact the SPLM/A (IO) leadership before taking the unjust decision, to require security assurance in areas they’ve mentioned. In addition, the timing of the decision (4 days before the examination) indicates wicked intentions from the ministry leadership,” Baluang said in the statement.
The opposition media official further denied the reportedly insecurity threats further condemning the decision urging the ministry of education to revoke decision and allow for the students in the opposition areas to take exams like those in any parts of the country.
“We would like also to stress that there no insecurity in all the areas under control of SPLM/SPLA (IO) and law and order are effectively maintained,” he said.
“Therefore, we condemn the decision in strongest terms possible and call upon the ministry of education to revoke it and allow pupils in our control areas to sit for their examination concurrently with other pupils over South Sudan without any discrimination,” he further added.