Distance learning in South Sudan is a new experience for everyone, and a challenge for most of those involved. It is one thing to quickly check your Facebook page, but quite another to download two or three pages of material to read, digest and then answer questions on. Unfortunately, South Sudan is not known for its efficient wireless Internet capability, and many of the eager students have great difficulty getting online.
The students are grateful to have access to smart phones and are known to walk miles to get Internet access, only for it to be cut off before they have completed their work. But they persevere.
The project is still gathering momentum, with two or three more students each week coming into the program. The smart phones provided by donors are shared between two or three students where possible. So the students are learning to communicate, to share, to negotiate and to work their way around the Internet to find their Google lessons. So much to learn! The tutors are patiently putting their materials online and then waiting for the students to respond.
STTC staff are impressed with the desire of the students to continue learning but realize the difficulties they are presented with. Those in Protection of Civilian (POC) Camps have daily issues to contend with. Those in areas where food is growing are busy in their gardens keeping the family fed. All are struggling to keep safe from COVID-19, so there are many pressures.
In all, we are finding that the students want to learn and are looking forward to returning to the college. In the meantime, they try to the best of their ability to complete the tasks set for them.
Sister Margaret Scott, RNDM
Principal, Solidarity Teacher Training College
Yambio, South Sudan
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Video message from Sister Margaret Scott, RNDM (filmed before the COVID-19 pandemic)