TEACHING THE VIOLENT PAST IN SECONDARY SCHOOLS IN NEWLY INDEPENDENT SOUTH SUDAN

  • Merethe SkÃ¥rÃ¥s Oslo and Akershus University College
  • Anders Breidlid Oslo and Akershus University College
Keywords: Sudan, South Sudan, History education, focused ethnography, attribution theory, collective memory, civil wars

Abstract

This article analyses the teaching and learning of South Sudan history from 1955–2005 in secondary schools in South Sudan with a specific focus on national unity. The article draws on two periods of focused ethnography, from September to December 2014 and July to September 2015, including classroom observation and interviews with teachers, student teachers and students in two geographical locations. Additionally, 69 written essays from secondary school students of History have been analysed in order to get an insight into their knowledge of the recent violent past. The use of classroom video observation makes a significant contribution to the field as most studies focus on documents and textbooks. The analysis focuses on national unity and uses theories of collective memory and attribution to examine the narratives of the past. The article argues that the national narrative of South Sudan is still closely tied to enemy images of the former enemy of Sudan in the north, while internal ethnic tensions are suppressed and excluded from the official national narrative taught in the classroom.

Published
2016-12-19