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University of Rumbek forced to close unless funding improves

Majok Mon
The administration of the University of Rumbek is beset by a shortage of students, teaching staff and money and it may be forced to close next term.
2.07.2012  |  Rumbek
University of Rumbek Deputy Vice Chancellor Michael Maker Mangony, June 2012.
University of Rumbek Deputy Vice Chancellor Michael Maker Mangony, June 2012.

Deputy Vice Chancellor Michael Maker Mangony said the University of Rumbek will not open unless the South Sudanese government boosts its funding.

Maker Mangony said the institution has inadequate accommodation, a shortage of lecturers and a lack of financial support following the secession of South Sudan from the North. How can this big institution be run when there is no budget?” Maker Mangony said.

The university lacks accommodation for 641 students, he said, adding that the start of term would be delayed for new students. We will wait until things improve in order to open for the first year students.”

The university’s funds were hit by South Sudan’s austerity measures after it halted its oil production earlier this year.

The University of Rumbek now plans to further reduce the number of students starting in 2013. From 600 new students in 2010, the university is now accepting only half the number of students.

Teaching capacity has also slumped since the creation of a separate South Sudan. Most of the lecturers were from Sudan and they have not reported back to the university following the announcement of independence‚” Mangony said, adding that the university’s staff had shrunk by half.

Mangony is calling on the Ministry of Higher Education to fund the construction of more hostels and lecture halls. We need the ministry to send the students tuition fees for 2012 in order to open for the new classes.”

Chairman of the University of Rumbek Students’ Union, Abraham Riing Majier, said that education would suffer. He urged the university to open for the third year students at least. It is better to open the school for the third year in order for them to finish next year. That is better than delaying for no reason,” he said.

Abraham Macuor Lum and other students at the University of Rumbek voiced disappointment with higher education in South Sudan where most of the five public universities are currently closed.

Macuor Lum pointed out that the country has just emerged from a long period of war, which damaged the education system. Now is the time for us to learn,” he said.