USAID And Juba University Launch Masters In Education Project

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The University of Juba in partnership with the United State Agency for International Development (USAID) and Indiana University (IU) on Wednesday launched the Master’s in Education Project (MEP) aimed at fostering the education sector in the country.

Arlene Benitez, MEP Director Indiana University speaking to Gurtong after the launch at UoJ [Photo| Jok P. Mayom]

By Jok P Mayom

JUBA, 24 March 2016 [Gurtong]- The Program that has graduated 14 South Sudanese in the first group at IU last year will now sponsor 20 for the second group beginning advanced studies in Education this April at the Juba University.

“12 of the 20 young educators who received scholarship today are women. Women also play critical roles as effective peace advocates, community leaders and champions of civil and human rights” said U.S Ambassador to South Sudan Mary Molly Phee.

She said the American people have supported with a contribution of $2.5million to help form a corps of highly skilled educators able to address the needs of schools, teachers and students pursuing education amidst conflict and its aftermath.

 “…..Providing greater access to education and resources, especially for women and girls, improves the health and education of the next generation” said Ambassador Phee.

Arlene Benitez, MEP Director Indiana University said “We started in April 2013 in developing the program and regionally we were going to do what we are doing now which is building the program here at the University of Juba.”

“We were in the process of building the program; recruiting students in December 2013 when the conflict begun and because of the conflict we were unable to continue, so we came up with the proposal to the USAID that they instead offer the scholarship for the students to come to Indiana” Benitez told Gurtong.

“…..and because it was more expensive to travel to the United States we ended up offering it to a smaller group of 14 students who graduated from Indiana University in June 2015, They came back here and now employed” she added.

Dr. John Gai Yoh, National Minister of Education Science and Technology (MoEST) hailed the contribution of the American people and the Indiana University in bringing the sponsorship down to South Sudan.

“These are parts of our national endeavour to transform our higher education system. As a country, we have our role to educate our people to be leaders of our nation.” said Dr. Gai.

The Minister said the program will enable the graduates to train the teachers who are going to teach in primary and secondary schools.

“Without good teachers, we will never have good education” said the Minister.

Prof. John Apurut Akec, Vice Chancellor, University of Juba (UoJ) also hailed the cooperation of the IU supported by the USAID.

“This is a very good way of supporting South Sudan. The Master’s in Education Project is in line with what the UoJ would like to do that is widening access to quality higher education” said Prof. Akec.

Rose Hezekiah Jonathan, 28 years old female beneficiary of the project told Gurtong that she hopes after the trainings she will become a lecturer at the University of Juba.

“As a South Sudanese, I am very happy because this is an important opportunity; I hope it will be successful. I hope after I finish, I will be a lecturer and help to transform our society” said Rose.

The Supporting partners during the launch said that the MEP will help create a sustainable South Sudanese – led program at University of Juba’s College of Education for future generations of university-trained schools teachers and administrators.

The program will strengthen the education sector, raise literacy rates and narrow the gender gap bringing women and girls into classrooms around the country.

The MEP builds upon the USAID-funded South Sudan Higher Education Initiative for Equity and Leadership Development (SSHEILD) Program graduated 14 South Sudanese out of whom, 9 are now lecturers at Universities across the country.

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