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School Blues

School Blues 

No doubt the idea of finally being able to go and live in my Father’s country of origin was a dream come true.  However, I, like many other returning Sudanese and expatriates living in Sudan, have found the school situation here to be a bit of a nightmare. The level of instruction in most English medium schools has fallen short of what many of us are used to outside of Sudan. Sure there may be a few schools that offer a quality education, but guess what?  It’s not a right, it’s a privilege.  You will have to part with a hefty yearly sum to make sure that your child is educated in a well organized institution.

“However, the situation is not all doom and gloom.  There have been success stories with the above scenario but they highly depend with the children’s age.”

There’s also another issue.  What about those of us who are of Sudanese origin and would like to get our kids up to speed in Arabic?  There have been many horror stories of Sudanese families returning from the diaspora and thrusting their children into Arabic medium schools only for all parties to become thoroughly dismayed.  The child becomes frustrated and completely demoralized due to the lack of understanding, not to mention the difference in teaching styles (generally rote here in Sudan) and the beatings and verbal abuse.  And in all fairness, a teacher cannot devote any special attention in the class to one child.  And the parents?  At the end of the day, they either look for an English school to send their child to or it’s back to where they came from.

However, the situation is not all doom and gloom. There have been success stories with the above scenario but they highly depend with the child’s age.  If the child is around 9 to 10 years of age or below, then they have a good chance to naturally pick up the language albeit with some help. The older the child gets the more help they will need to integrate – such as from an Arabic as a Second Language program (ASL). Unfortunately, programs like this in Sudan are generally limited to IGCSE schools, not Arabic medium schools .

So, what is the solution?  I have found that, here, one must be willing to think outside the box to accomplish ones’ goals. The ready options may not be suitable or to your satisfaction, but that doesn’t mean that one should roll over and die, if you will… a slow death from perpetual complaining.  Be creative and explore other options like home schooling, private tutors – many of whom are affordable and well qualified – and maybe even group together with like-minded parents and introduce a system where your children can benefit in the way you intended. So turn those blues around with a bit of creativity and A LOT of patience.  Sudan and your happiness are worth it!

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