Education Minister Awut faces backlash after banning exams in rebel-held areas

Minister of Education Awut Deng Acuil bans national exams in opposition-held areas |Photo : File

The Minister of General Education and Instruction, Awut Deng Acuil is facing a public backlash after issuing an unprecedented statement banning students studying in opposition-held areas from participating in the upcoming national exams.

“She (Hon. Awut Deng) will be known in history as Minister of General Education who worked intensively to destroy the future of the Nuer and Shilluk people. Within the current context of the peace agreement She has demonstrated that there is no peace being implemented in the country. Being entrusted with such a big ministry, the reason is to provide equal services/opportunities to all the children in the country,” said Gabriel Gatluak, a member of the opposition.

“Under the Ministry of General Education policy, it’s stated that ever child has a right to education despite being foreigner or native. Culturally, we have been singing women have good hearts and sympathy for the nation, where is this woman coming from! Is she really from Jieng community?,” he added.

On Thursday, Awut banned all areas controlled by the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (IO) from taking national exams.

“Members of the press, Ladies and gentlemen — It is my pleasure to inform the nation that all necessary arrangements have been made for timely commencement of the 2020 Certificate of Primary Education examinations on Monday 8th February 2021,” said Awut Deng Acuil, Minister of General Education and Instruction.

“However, it is important for me to underscore that in this year 2020/2021 examination cycle, a lot of stringent security measures have been devised and put in place to curb malpractices in examinations and to ensure security of the Examinations, Examinees and Examiners.”

“Central in these measures is that any certificate examination that is conducted by the South Sudan National Examinations Council MUST be protected and guarded by both the South Sudan National Police services and National Security. In the absence of both the Police and Security, nothing can guarantee the security and integrity of the examinations and thus such areas shall be regarded as no-exams zones.”

“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.”

“To date, the money is not yet recovered although the agents were later released. These concerns have been shared with both the National Security Service and the Police and it has been resolved that unless a clear assurance is given by the SPLM-IO leadership over the security of examination in these areas, the National Examinations Council will have no other viable options but withhold the examinations in these areas in light of the fact that South Sudan National Security service and Police have no presence in such areas to provide full control and provision of security to Examiners, Examinees and the examinations.”

“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.”