Wednesday, 30 January 2013
By Ariik Atekdit
The Director for External Relations in Upper Nile University
says, “The institution will not open if there are no funds available
for students’ food accommodation in the hostels.”
Dr. Peter Adwok Otto said “the students’ accommodation budget is badly
affected by the austerity measures in the country.”
From 2005, the government of Southern Sudan (GOSS) used to provide
free food and accommodation to all the students in South Sudan
universities until 2012 when the country’s economy faced difficulties.
“The Ministry of Higher Education stopped availing accommodation for
the students,” Dr Adwok added.
In late 2011 South Sudan claimed that the neighbouring Sudan stole the
new nation’s oil which travelled through Sudan’s territory to Port
Sudan for international market.
South Sudan responded by closing down their oil well which was the
backbone of its economy so the leadership is forced to declare
austerity measures in the country. South Sudan economy depends on oil
for about 98%.
Adwok said students cannot manage to study in the university without
any accommodation support.
“Other students come from very far places to Malakal for studies. They
have no relatives to accommodate them. And they might be children from
poor families, nevertheless they need to study. This means there can
be many problems to face them. If their needs are not addressed, it
will be a threat to the university and the state stability”, Adwok
Adwok revealed that the university administration has already
approached Upper Nile state government to support fundraising for
students’ welfare to avail food accommodation for the students in
Since October 2012, the students have been for long break whose
deadline is not known update.
“We don’t want to start something which will break down somewhere. We
will not start the supplementary and substitute exams too, because we
are not near to opening. The university is closed indefinitely. We are
doing this so that we can base the opening of the university on things
which are concrete till the end of the academic year,” Adwok added.
Upper Nile state government has responded positively to the request
made by the University to create Students’ Welfare Fund.
The state minister for information and broadcasting, Philip Jiben Ogal
said they will work closely with the university administration to
address some of the issues facing the tertiary institution.
“The state government will take one pound (SSP 1) monthly from every
employee working for the government or civil societies to make the
university stand,” Jiben stated.
Jiben added that the contribution will include constitutionals who are
sons and daughters of the state to also support the infrastructures
and internal roads inside the Upper Nile University campus.
“We have already formed two committees, the fundraising committee and
information and mobilization committee. The two committees will work
towards the success of the program,” Jiben said.
William Mabior Deng, a student representative, said that the
accommodation of the students is very important and hoped the two
committees will sensitize the citizens to support the university
Mabior thanked the University for trying hard to offer the
accommodation to the students as well as struggling for better
infrastructure in the university.
“I hope if all mobilization and sensitization is done successful, and
funds are available we should re-open very soon may be in February,”
Upper Nile University was founded in 1991. Due to the Second Sudanese
Civil War, some of the university faculties were relocated to
Khartoum, Sudan, for safety of staff, students and infrastructure.
Following South Sudan's independence in July 2011, the university is
consolidating all activities to its main campus in the city of
Malakal, Upper Nile State, in South Sudan's northeast.