Education in Sudan

Representation of the Sudan’s Education
A work of literature can not be separated from the context in it occurred. The context of the work of literature includes two main dimensions: the dimension of time and the dimension of space

(place). “Season of Migration to the North” takes place in the first half of the last century on Sudan. Some of the incidents occurred during the period on which the narrator or Mustafa Sa’eed were outside their homeland living in England .The novel reflects the actual historical facts about Sudan’s education in that period

Education is crucial in any type of society for
the preservation of the lives of its members and
the maintenance of the social structure

(Rodeny ,,…. ).

Education is a crucial aspect for the life of any nation as it is the case for the Sudanese. The importance of education came from the fact that its influence is huge on many different aspects of the Sudanese life. I’m going to cover this crucial aspect of life by the analysis which will depend mainly on what it was mentioned about education within the text of “Season of Migration to the North” and I will connect these indications about the status of education in Sudan with the real information which we get from history books.
During the first half of the twentieth century, educational institutions were, for the first time, introduced by the colonial power (England) to the Sudanese culture. Apparently, the population of Sudan who was not acquainted to the colonial educational system (a system that served the colonial power’ plans) did not perceive the idea easily. The people feared sending their own children to schools as was explicitly mentioned in p.20of the novel:

That was the time when we first had schools. I remember now that the people were not keen about them and so the government would send its officials to scour the villages and tribal communities while the people hide their sons. They thought of schools as being a great evil that had come to them with the armies of occupation

The colonial schools system was originally introduced to Sudan for the purpose of training Sudanese to participate in the domination and the exploitation of their own nation, for the purpose of creating inferiority complex, and of creating confusion.

The main purpose of colonial system was to train Africans to participate in the domination and exploitation of the continent as a whole. Colonial education was education for subordination, exploitation the creation of mental confusion and the development of underdevelopment
The colonial educational system was involved in creating an alienated Sudanese class in their own homeland
In” Rodeny ,Corbal and Ngugi as guides to Africa post colonial literature ” ,we were told that the most alienated in Africa were the educated Africans

The educated Africans were the most alienated Africans on the continent. At each further stage of education, they were buttered and succumbed to the white capitalist system, and after being given salaries they could then afford to sustain a style imported from outside.. That further transformed their mentality.

One may think of the reasons that made these educated African alienated from their society, about their role in the development of their underdeveloped country and their loyalty ……etc. The first reason for being alienated from Sudanese is properly the role that the educated Sudanese class played during the English occupation .The graduates of Gordon collage , which was very much like intermediate school ,were the junior government officials such as ma’mours…etc. The English commissioner gave them orders to bring in the taxes from their kinsmen. They had to opay the orders; otherwise, they will lose their jobs or they will be punished for the accuses of inflammation of mutiny against England control over Sudan. The ignorant Sudanese were so exploited to the degree that they hated their Sudanese brothers and loved the English commissioner who pretended to be full of mercy and pity .The English commissioner pretended to behave in that merciful way to avoid the fate of the previous English commissioner in Sudan who was assassinated by the patriot Sudanese . The educated were thought to be the one who exploited the nation.
Secondly, the educated were alienated from the society because of their hypridity. They have a culture of their own. Their culture of inbetweenness includes both the features from the Sudanese and European cultures .They were living in the third space. Both of the narrator and Mustafa sa’eed can be considered alien to the people of the village. They were different in certain ways. For Mustafa Sa’eed, he was alien to the village in the literal sense of the word since he has no root in the village. The villagers knew very little about him as appears when the narrator asked his friend and his grandfather about Sa’eed. Their answer was that he was from Alkhortoum and he settled in the village five years ago and married Mahmoud daughter four years ago and his behaviors caused no harm. These information is so few to the degree that when you know such information about a person you actually do not know him or her .The more important aspect of his alienation is on the intellectual level .His way of perceiving the world is different from the way the society does . This appears in many of his actions during his residence in the village such as his relation with his wife Husna, he did not treat her in the same way other men in the village did with their own wives .He acknowledged her rights to think, to be independent and to have a voice .This was never done or accepted in the village society. He also seems to be alien when he cared about giving excuses for coming to visit the narrator at noon .In the village’ culture ,visiting your neighbors in any time of the day ,even if it is the noon or the middle of the night or the early mourning ,is accepted without bothering yourself of making excuse. .
The narrator is also alien in his way of thinking, such as his refusal to acknowledge Husna marriage to Wad Rayes while the whole population of that village accepted this marriage as a normal thing to happen. He gave Husna an excuse for her deed, but the whole society considered her deed as a shameful deed of a female done in the history of the peaceful village.

The most important reason for being alienated from the Society is the fact that these educated people where greatly influenced by the education they received from the colonial school system to the degree that they believed firmly in the ideas and the believes of colonialism. The influence of the colonial educational system continued after the end of colonialism. The educated retained the ideologies, the believes and the attitudes of colonialism while ruling their homeland. We can no longer consider Sudan as independent state even after the end of military colonialism since the colonial power ruled it by the black masked faces who carried in their minds the white’ thoughts and believes .The colonial power left the native land but still its control of the land continued . This was stated directly in the conversation between the narrator and the retired Ma’mour PP52-53.

The people would gumble and complain to the English commissioner
,and naturally it was the English commissioner who was indulgent
and showed mercy . And in this way they sowed hatred in the hearts
of the people for us , their kinsmen ,and love for the colonizers , the intruders ………
Have we not become independent? Have we not become free men
in our country ?Be sure ,though that they will direct our affairs from
a far . This is because they left behind them people who think as they
do ….It was the nobodies who had the best jobs in the days of the English

? The graduates from the intermediate school , specifically Gordon collage ,played a marginal role if they played any role at all in the social aspect of life , their role was merely writing essays from time to time in wall newspapers or delivering speeches in certain religious and social occasions such as the memory of the birthday of the prophet _peace be upon Him _ …etc or making discussions of literature in their homes and clubs taking on their consideration the fear of authority and its intensive pressure upon them .
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If this was the case with the graduates of Gordon collage, what was the case for the graduates of the universities of Egypt, England, Lebanon….etc ?
The status of these graduates from foreign universities was not better than their kinsmen, the graduates of Gordon collage. They were unfortunately deprived from the most crucial thing which would probably help them to develop their homeland if they were allowed to have it .They were deprived from having a voice to oppose the corrupted orders of those in higher positions like ministers . We find the narrator telling his friend Mahjoub that:

“A civil servant like me can not change anything if our masters say “do so _and _so we do it”

It seems that it’s neither the educated Sudanese from villages who occupy jobs in governmental offices, nor these who are graduates of intermediate schools, nor those who graduated from primary schools were able to make the change. The question that asks itself is “who is the one that has the ability to make the change, and to bring the development to the country if the educated themselves were not able to bring the change to the corrupt systems that dominate Sudan .? “Is the party (the Nationalist Democratic Socialist Party) going to bring the change to the country ? When we continue reading through the same page ,we will find the answer which is negative . The party is also handicapped .It’s not able to make schools nor hospitals, which are the most crucial basic infrastructure in any society .Then, what is the benefit of having a party that does not work or not able to bring development to the country .

You are the head of the national democratic socialist party the party in power, so why not pour out your anger on them Mahjoub said apologetically , “if it had not been for the calamities…. on the day it happened we were preparing to travel in a large hospital also an intermediate boy’s school ,a primary school for girls , an agriculture schools and….

The above quotation refers to a very important historical fact which is the lack of schools in Sudan and the centerization of schools in the main cities like Al Khartoum, Omdarman. The educated and the socialist party wanted to develop the country by developing the education system, so we find their calls to develop educational system and to build new schools in Sudan especially in villages. Mahjoub informed us about the intention of the village delegation to ask for a primary school for girls since there is non, and a secondary school for boys and a primary school for girls, this indicates that there was a primary school for boys in the small village .During the 1930s, there were only ten schools in Sudan which is a spacious country .How many students do these schools teach? Perhaps five thousands or even ten thousand students are taught in these schools and what about the rest of the nation? For sure they will be left ignorant with no education .What will be the fate of a nation with little education?

The other problem which Sudan suffers from as any other underdeveloped country was the centerization of infrastructure in the main big cities especially educational institutions and the lack of these institutions in the small villages in al khourtoum and Oumdarman, the old and the new capitals of Sudan, the educational institutions are available, but in small villages ,there were no such institutions the thing that made many students walk long distance to reach the nearest school since by now you probably realize the fact that the one ( e.g. corrupted governmental officers) who is not eager to provide villages with schools is ,for sure, not eager to provide the children with transportation methods (buses cars , trains ….)

The problem was not peculiar to the quantity of education but also to the quality of the needed education. What kind of education does Sudan need in that period of time? The answer for this question may be directly indicated by the response of Mustafa Sa’eed to the narrator when the later informed Mustafa Sa’eed that he learned English poetry during his study period in England, not engineering nor medical sciences …We find that Sa’eed was at first disappointed but later he admitted the fact that Sudan in need of any kind of education not a specific study only as indicated below:

We have no need of poetry here .It would have been better if you’d studied agriculture, engineering, or medicine

But we are farmers and think only of what concern us

Knowledge of whatever kind is necessary for the advancement of our country

This disappointment of Mustafa sa’eed is due to the fact that he was properly worrying about the coming destiny of the Sudan and its nation. He realized the nation’ intensive needs for agriculture, engineering and medical knowledge and he was hopping that this need would be reduced a little by the narrator, but he was greatly disappointed when he knew that the narrator studied poetry. He, as scholar in economics, did not realize the influence of poetry on the self, the only thing that matters to him is statistics, numbers He few minutes later realizes the fact that the country needed any kind of knowledge even poetry.
Agricultural schools were so important and so valuable since the Sudanese were living on farming not trade nor manufacturing ,so we find Mahjoub saying that the delegation they were preparing to send in order to demand of the party “who is in power “or perhaps of the government directly their needs of schools and hospitals .
The last thing that we can say about education as represented in “Season of Migration of the North “is the ideas of rulers of Sudan about the situation and their way of behaving .The ideas of the rulers of Sudan appear clearly on the education conference. They started taking of unifying curriculum even though the schools were not built yet.!!!

They say: no contradiction must occur between what the student learns at school and between what the reality of the life of the people.

He justifies the fact that no schools were built as away of preventing a bourgeoisie from being created but the bourgeoisie is already created .It is living far away from reality and he is one of its member . This person, who does not want to make the students feel the difference between their schools and reality, escapes the hot summer of Sudan to live in his villa in Europe. His wife also does her shopping in Europe Yet he justifies the lack of good schools by fearing of creating a remoted away bourgeoisie .
All in all, the Sudanese did not accept the educational colonial system .This system was intending to exploit the society by creating an alienated class of Sudanese. The corrupted government officials also exploit the nation by controlling the nation’ resources. The education is a crucial aspect of the life of any nation therefore the education should be improved to bring in the development for the nation in all respects of life.

References :
……….,Rodney .”Guides to African post colonial literature”.F-M . omoregie . English Department. University of Boston . www.thecore . 11.htm#wrz .

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