I dropped out of school in South Sudan in 1985 due to the Second Sudanese Civil War. But continued my education in Uganda completing a BA (Hons) in Education at Makerere University Kampala in 2001.
I wanted to contribute to the reconstruction and development of education in South Sudan. So I applied to study for the Master of Education in Education Leadership, Policy and Development at the University of Bristol because of its usefulness in enhancing my knowledge and skills in education management.
I also chose the University of Bristol because it has a variety of options in the sphere of education to choose from and because of its reputation and high international ranking. I was also fortunate to have a British family friend who was very supportive of me while I was writing my dissertation. I remember Bristol as a vibrant city full of ancient buildings.
The courses, such as: comparative education, school effectiveness, managing people in education, education quality in low income countries and educational research were all very useful for me. Group work, discussion and the sharing of ideas among students helped us draw comparisons between varied international situations. The
exposure to a multi-cultural setting also helps one fit in when working for NGOs. The academic environment was also excellent; the library was well stocked and the tutors were knowledgeable.
My tutor, Professor Michael Crossley, understood students from African backgrounds very well. He had a deep knowledge of the areas he lectured in and was very humorous. I also remember Keith Brackstone, the then University of Bristol Student Union’s manager, picking me up from Temple Meads train station and introducing me to the city of Bristol. He taught me how to walk very fast like the British; being from a very hot climate I was not used to moving so fast!
My study at Bristol has enabled me to retain my job due to a greater coherence in my report writing skills which is attributable to the knowledge and skills I attained from Bristol. The course also meant that I can now manage educational programmes very effectively and I have been employed in senior education management positions with international NGOs. I am now Senior Technical Advisor (States Education Programme Manager) at the Academy for Educational Development (now known as Family Health International) in Juba, South Sudan.
I am planning on pursuing a PhD in education from one of the universities in England. I would like to specialise in teacher education in the new country of South Sudan, educate my children to PhD level and write educational books from the context of South Sudan.
I am most proud of the fact that I have moved out of the grass thatched house which I lived in since birth and have built for my family a permanent four-bedroom house.
Also, together with state education officials in South Sudan, I have produced three state’s education policies and I have trained more than 80 education officials in educational management.
To students considering the MEd I would say that he or she must be ready to learn and work hard; the MEd course is a very challenging but rewarding especially for students from Africa. The University of Bristol is the best choice for students from developing countries, like me, as it equips them with the real skills required to develop their countries. Also, lots of personal benefits can derived from one’s studies at Bristol; I count myself as very lucky to have studied there.