Mading Primary School | A School Under A Tree

If you were to visit  Mading Primary School today, you would find a makeshift school where all teaching and learning for over four hundred and thirty students and sixteen members of the teaching staff happens under a collection of trees in a cleared field. The school administration and teaching staff explain that extreme weather conditions such as rains, sand storms, scorching afternoon sun, and warm breezes usually bring learning to a standstill for days, weeks, and sometimes for months. The school doesn’t have a single structure and classrooms are simple chalkboards propped up against a tree while students huddle around on the ground and write from their laps.

Teacher meetings take place in the open, students relieve themselves throughout the day in the adjacent field, and outside community members and livestock wander throughout the school grounds.

The school does not have grades seven and eight requiring a student to transfer to neighboring schools that have these final two grades needed to complete primary school. This is one reason that led Ariang Network of Schools to establish a ‘SCHOOL FEEDER PROGRAM’. As much as this feeder program is successful in graduating more students from the wider community, it often leads to many challenges such as:

  • Student population influx

    • Classrooms become overcrowded and a shortage of students’ learning supplies is often felt

  • Imbalanced teacher-student ratio

    • Teachers face a new challenge in meeting the needs of all their students. Ariang School student population, for example, grew from seven hundred and fifty in 2018 to one thousand one hundred in 2019. This poses a new challenge in physical classroom space, classroom management, and delivering instructions effectively

  • Extra miles to trek or drop out of school

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    To reach the new schools, many students walk extra miles in the scorching sun through very rough and dusty terrain. Girls find it very unsafe to walk through the grasslands and cornfields to reach school. With these new challenges, some students find it difficult to walk the miles and choose to discontinue their education

The Needs of This School Which Ariang Network of Schools Hopes To Meet

HOPE for Ariang hopes to address key needs at Mading School if the organization manages to secure sufficient funding:

 

Build Mading Education Center with the following facilities:

Ten classrooms for Mading primary school and Mading kindergarten: four classrooms used as the inaugural classes for Ayien Secondary School – senior one to senior four; and two classrooms will be used as languages, math, and science laboratories for the Ayien Secondary School. 

The school administration block: This will comprise the head teacher’s office, staff department, a store, and guidance & counseling section.

School latrines: This will comprise three separate toilet blocks – one for the girls, another for the teachers, and one for the boys.

School kitchen: This a simple cooking area with three storage rooms, separate comfort rooms for the male and female workers, an office, a dining section, and an assembly section with two separate comfort rooms for the students. 

 

Build a lending library with ICT section, librarian office & store, general reading area, multipurpose learning area, newspapers reading area, reception, a central court: Both the primary and secondary school students and teachers will benefit from the library since they will be able to borrow books, meet for discussions and revisions during school days and weekends/vacations. The library will be equipped with ICT facilities, equipment and the necessary digital infrastructure that will enable digital-aided learning and research activities.

 

Build a multipurpose hall that puts the community at the center of development: 

The multipurpose hall will offer the community with opportunities for continued learning and economic and social development: used for inter-schools students’ activities such as math, science and language symposiums, and special training seminars; used as an adult education learning center; used as the local center for discussing development agenda and other community dialogues; used as a hub for social and economic development in the area.

 

Build Mading sports center (football pitch, track and field grounds, a basketball court, a volleyball court, a tennis court.) 

 These facilities will influence the youth to develop positive activities, reduce exposure and engagement to risky behavior, and acquire 21st-century skills like hard work, collaboration, perseverance, adaptability, and discipline key to peace-building. South Sudan has unlimited talents which would greatly contribute to economic development if tapped into. The talents have the potential to go beyond the borders and put South Sudan on the global map of sports.