Senior secondary school opens in Mapourdit
In an attempt to provide education to as many southern Sudanese as possible,
Rumbek Diocese last month opened a senior secondary school at Mapourdit.
The school which admitted the first group of 23 students, all boys, is
conducting a four-year course based on a curriculum similar to one offered in
Kenyan secondary schools.
"It is not our intention to make it a boys-only institution but the
circumstances surrounding the admission of the first lot were such that no girl
qualified for enrolment," said Monsignor Caesar Mazzolari, the Apostolic
Administrator of Rumbek Diocese where the school is situated. "The subsequent
classes, beginning next year, will all have girls," he said.
Msgr Mazzolari also pointed out that the secondary school was not exclusively
for the Dinka, but, being a non-boarding institution, it was only natural that
it absorbed students from the local area which is inhabited by the Dinka.
Heading the secondary school is Fr. Michael Barton, a Comboni missionary from
the USA, who has been instrumental in educational development in the region. In
his line-up of teaching staff are fellow priests and sisters, as well as
qualified lay people.
"The learners,' said Msgr Mazzolari, "are very enthusiastic as they know that
successful completion of their course will earn them a certificate with which
they can land a job, or pursue further education."
Msgr Mazzolari is equally impressed by the student population so far. "The
population is quite encouraging considering that Sudan is currently at war and
most of the youth have committed their energy and time to fighting for the cause
of their people."
The protracted civil strife in Sudan has disrupted practically every other
aspect of life. Formal education in some areas, for instance, ground to a halt
more than 10 years ago. Sudan is today among the world's poorest and least
literate states. However, missionaries have been at the forefront in keeping the
fire of enlightenment aglow by establishing a host of learning institutions in
"The local community holds the Comboni school in high esteem as it is the first
one of its kind in the area," says Msgr Mazzolari.
Already in place on the school compound are two main blocks which house a
classroom, a laboratory, store, library and one large reading room. The
buildings are made of sun-baked blocks with grass-thatched roofs. Plans for
future expansion have already been drawn.
Besides their educational institutions in Sudan, Rumbek Diocese also provide
formal education to Sudanese refugees at the Kakuma refugee camp in northern
Kenya. In August last year, they established Josephine Bakhita Formation Centre
for Sudanese, in Kenya's Kitale town, about 407 kilometres north-west of
Nairobi. The Centre aims at training young people from Sudan as agents of
evangelization, education and development.
For further information, please contact:
Fr. Kizito, SCIO, tel +254.2.562247 - fax +254.2.566668 - e-mail: SCIO@MAF.Org