By Veronica Sanchez,
Construction Coordinator, Nimule, JRS Southern Sudan
(Nimule, November 23, 2010) – A new science laboratory block has opened in Loa secondary school, Pageri sub-county near Nimule, Southern Sudan.
The laboratory was designed to accommodate 60 students. It includes a large naturally illuminated area and two small rooms, one for materials and another one for the teachers to prepare exercises and experiments. It offers water and gas facilities as well as all necessary tools for practices and empirical exercises, furniture and all materials for the biology, chemistry, physics and agriculture departments.
Students at the school started using the laboratory in the beginning of November. The new laboratory not only improves the quality of secondary education considerably, it also gives secondary students the opportunity to study new subjects at university. "We are proud of the new laboratory, as it gives us another possibility for progress and improvement of our lives," Licki Albert, the head teacher of the school said.
Laboratories are rare
School laboratories are rare in Southern Sudan. Only two of seven secondary schools in the three sub-counties have a laboratory, both built by Jesuit Refugee Service. They are necessary for teaching science and preparing students for university.
The Uganda based construction company, Star Party Co., that built the laboratory was selected in a public process, out of five other companies that submit bids. Having built two laboratories before – one in Yei and one in Nimule – the company was chosen because of its experience.
"JRS has supervised the construction process at all stages and we consider the result very successful," said Alejandro del Castillo Sanchez, JRS Assistant Project Director in Nimule. Funding for the laboratory came from the Spanish Development Cooperation Agency AECID (Agencia Española de Cooperación al Desarrolo) which had already provided funds for another laboratory.
A long tradition
Loa secondary school is among the most important secondary schools in Southern Sudan. Many of its graduates are now working all over the world and performance has been good since the first group of candidates sat exams in 2009. Currently, more than 200 students – of which almost 80 are girls – attend the school. They are taught by 17 teachers.
The school offers good facilities and a learning environment appropriate for quality education. It has four classroom blocks, a computer room and an office block. There is also a library which JRS rehabilitated last year. Future plans involve the rehabilitation of more of the old blocks to set up a girls’ hostel and more classrooms and offices.
Comboni missionaries founded the school in 1922. It started as a primary school for boys and became a secondary school in 1972. The old structures were partly destroyed during the war but alumni of the school reconstructed the main classroom block while JRS rebuilt the laboratory and another three classroom blocks. In 2007 the school was reopened as a secondary school operating according to the new curriculum.