The Government of South Sudan (GoSS) devised the ‘General Education Strategic Plan 2012-2017’ (GESP) which aimed to “introduce a series of reforms to improve quality, access to and funding for general education as well as tackle the issue of illiteracy in the country and low institutional and human capacity in the general education sub-sector”.
This project was part of on-going work to deliver against the GESP and sat within the context of an intended impact of sector-wide improvements in education quality.
A variety of sub topics were addressed including learning and teaching materials development, learning assessment and development of standards, and capacity building and training of teachers to improve their ability to adapt to these changes.
Key areas targeted for reform included:
Tools for assessment of learning outcomes: roll-out of diagnostic literacy and numeracy assessment tests for the early grades, and the design of an assessment model for early grade learners, which could be extended to other grades.
Improved quality of teaching and learning materials available in primary schools.
An assessment of teacher and institutional capacity, with relevant training of trainers to improve teachers’ capacity to use the newly designed tools.
Issues related to language of instruction and assessment, and language selection for learning materials – redesign of assessment and learning tools to reflect complex socio-cultural dynamics in the South Sudanese education sector.
Montrose was contracted to develop a new teaching policy and learning interventions to ensure improved literacy and numeracy outcomes among primary school learners in South Sudan in support of the GESP overall approach towards improved national education policy.
Solutions were based on Early Grade Reading Assessment (EGRA) and Early Grade Mathematics Assessment (EGMA) findings which highlighted areas for improvement of existing pedagogical materials and methods.
The project was composed of four components:
Assessment of existing learning and teaching practices: Montrose developed and adapted assessment tools (EGRA/EGMA as well as lesson observation) for data collection from the partners’ areas of operation.
Development of standards and benchmarks for the early grades.
Development of learning and teaching kits: Existing learning and teaching materials were under-used by both teachers and learners. This indicated a need for the development of up-to-date materials that will complement teaching and enhance learning among early grade learners.
Training of Trainers to improve existing teaching methods.
National dialogue on EGRA and EGMA approaches were initiated in consultation with academics, teachers and civil society organisations to discuss and devise a future teaching strategy to improve the quality of education at national level.
The findings from the assessments informed the development of standards and benchmarks in learning for the foundation grades. These were incorporated into South Sudan’s educational policy and applied widely.
The project contributed to the processes of policy design and development at national level in line with GESP targets.