Jada Jedid Sets Breathtaking Pace in Education Development

Jada Jedid Nursery and Primary School stands proud in the education arena in South Sudan. Behind its story is that of determination of Jada Jedid, a South Sudanese teacher with a high determination for success.
Jada Jedid, founder of Jada Jedid Nursery and Primary School

By Benjamin Takpiny

Jada Jedid Nursery and Primary School stands proud in the education arena in South Sudan.

Behind its story is that of determination of Jada Jedid, a South Sudanese teacher with a high determination for success.

Jedid rose from a dobbi,  washing people’s clothes on the shores of the River Nile in Juba and now plans to set up as much as 30 learning institutions.

“I had to start with washing clothes because the business doesn’t require a lot of capital. You just need your hands to start washing clothes,” Jedid told The Dawn in an interview in Juba.

“When I started, I didn’t have any capital for the iron box and I used to go and wash in the River Nile which is a free place,” he said recalling buying an iron box from the proceeds of the washing of clothes.

By 2004, Jedid who had been teaching himself as government employee, while engaging in dobbi ventured into a new business, rare by then in South Sudan,  public toilets, setting it up in the busy Konyo Konyo area in Juba.

“I was the first South Sudanese person who started this public toilet business. When I started the toilet business, I left teaching because I could not manage teaching, washing and then toilet. So I left my teaching profession, I said, let me focus,” he said.

“Even though, there were a lot of challenges because it was a new initiative. In the first place, people rejected it because this one, it became a surprise to these people but I insisted, I convinced them.”

Students of Jada Jedid Nursery and Primary School

According to his philosophy,  the public toilets create hygiene in an area and protects the health of the people.

“I said, this is how we can clean our town. People used to urinate behind the shops, defecate behind the shops and then even sometimes, these business people, they go out to the graveyard to ease themselves,” Jedid said.

From the public toilet business Jedid could save up to $6000 monthly between 2006 and 2007.

 “That was huge money and then I started purchasing lands,” he said.

From then, Jedid never looked back, adding educational facilities to his business.

“With the money I got from the public toilet and laundry,  I purchased enough land with the plan I would sell some as I construct a school,” he said.

Approaching his community in 2009, land was provided to Jedid for a school on condition that he would provide education for children for three years.

Jedid got the deal right and turned to soliciting teachers from neighboring Uganda,  paying them from proceeds from the public toilets.

Conflict broke out in South Sudan in 2013, threatening his plans yet Jedid never gave up.

“These teachers ran back to Uganda but I said, this vision will not die. I  shifted from there and started opening a school in Juba , That was exactly 2014 when there was  no hope,” he said.

“2014 was the most terrible year. Even 90 percent or 80 percent of South Sudanese lost  hope if the country will be there or not  but I said, no, we have to have a different vision, different view. People were running. There was no capital, no money and then we went and convinced all the people who remained in this area, we needed to educate their children. We went and convinced them, we are going to open this school here. This school will save this community.”

“This place is Jada Jedid Tombe Nursery and Primary School. It came to exist and that was 2014.”

Jada Jedid Nursery and Primary school currently is a learning home to 700 learners. It has given birth to Gudele Parents which has 500 learners and Jedid is optimistic in riding on.

Reviews undertaken in developing countries reveal a strong evidence that teaching is better in private schools than in state schools, in terms of higher levels of teacher presence and teaching activity as well as teaching approaches that are more likely to lead to improved learning outcomes. This is an ingredient for increased growth and development.

Such private innovations like of Jedid have shored massively in the development of a country like China.

In an excerpt on Xinhua, China’s leading media in November, currently the private sector accounts for more than 70 percent of the country’s innovation achievements.

“As China makes strides towards high-quality development,  private businesses are rising to be a major dynamo propelling the world’s second largest economy forward,” it said.

While his public toilets were demolished by Juba City Council, Jedid says they served their cause.

He is employing 45 teachers and 10 non teaching staff in both schools.

He also prides in helping fellow teachers open up their own schools.

It was however not all rosy through the crisis but with a peace agreement being implemented in the country, Jedid believes its time to take his vision to another level.

The conditions of prevailing peace and security are the ingredients he desires for his vision to balloon.

“There you know, if a vision is there from that time, it’s really this, I’ve acquired enough,” Jedid said.

“My plan and vision is to build 30 standard schools across the country,” he said.

Jedid slaps an advice to his fellow countrymen on how to uncover success. “Most of our people, their mindset is jobseekers’ mindset, not job creators,” he said. “My advice for my South Sudanese colleagues-we need to be creative

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