Most of South Sudan’s lecturers hailed from the north and returned to Sudan following secession. These days their absence is sorely felt. Some universities have even been forced to close, leaving students uncertain as to when they can resume their studies.
The University of Rumbek, for example, lost 80 percent of its teaching staff who returned to their homes in northern Sudan following the division. Most of those lecturers, like other northerners, returned to Sudan amid a climate of fear about the repercussions the massive political change.
The Vice Chancellor of the University of Rumbek, Andrew Atem Aduol, in his office.
The Vice Chancellor of the University of Rumbek, Andrew Atem Aduol, spoke of a vacuum. The university has been closed for more than six months now because we have inadequate lecturers,” he said.
We are left with only two teachers from northern Sudan. They are from Darfur and Nuba Mountains, regions that have good relationship with people from South Sudan. However, the rest of our teaching staff from the North have joined Bari University in Khartoum,” he explained.
South Sudan has no qualified teachers to fill the gap. The university plans to recruit foreign teachers from East African countries to enable classes to resume.
There are no lecturers for third year students. We need qualified teachers,” Aduol said, adding that they have asked the ministry of higher education to assist but are unsure whether they will get official help.
He said the institution would remain closed until the challenges are solved.
The students’ union has called on the university administration and the government of South Sudan to reopen the university immediately.
The students in the university have an open ended holiday.” We, the leaders of Rumbek University student union, hereby appeal to the Government of South Sudan for unconditional re-opening of Rumbek University,” said Union Leader Abraham Ring Majier.
The university was closed in April and there is still no sign of when lessons will resume. The students in the university have an open ended holiday,” he said.
Ring warned this uncertainty has sparked frustration among students who have taken on jobs riding boda-boda motorcycles or even turned to crime while waiting for their education to continue.