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Five places in focus
2. The University

Aisha Al-Samany
How secession interrupted five students’ studies in Sudan and South Sudan.
10.07.2016  |  Khartoum, Sudan
 (photo: The Niles | Gunnar Bauer)
(photo: The Niles | Gunnar Bauer)

1. Saleh Yeng | University of Sudan
Education status: suspended bachelor’s degree at the University of Sudan since 2012

“I initially paid my tuition fees of SGD 200 as a Sudanese citizen and attended three semesters out of six. I went to Juba to get a residency but when I went back to college, I had to pay tuition fees in U.S. dollars as I am now considered a foreign student. The fees were suddenly 4,800 U.S. dollars (equivalent to SDG 45,000). I could not afford such high costs and suspended my college education until my financial situation improves or the conflict between the two countries is resolved. Both Sudan and South Sudan are witnessing a severe economic crisis. There is no infrastructure or human development in South Sudan and human rights are deteriorating, especially those of children and women. Sudan is also witnessing an economic crisis due to the loss of oil to the south.”


2. Vivian John | Ahfad University for Women
Education status: perusing a master’s degree in gender studies

“I graduated from Ahfad University for Women with a diploma in rural development. Right now I am completing a master’s degree in gender studies there. Ahfad University was not affected by the separation and we are still treated as Sudanese students regarding tuition fees. At first I was concerned because of the citizens who called me a foreigner, especially off the university campus. But I am safe here. All such concerns quickly vanished after I completed my first year. Then they just treated me as one of them. The establishment of South Sudan created a sense of a homeland for the southerners, but the leaders of the south didn’t have a proper plan to establish a state, meaning that people still feel the lack of a state identity there. The south rushed to separate health and education services from Sudan. It would have been better to keep these services unified until South Sudan was more established. Both Sudan and South Sudan are witnessing crises at all levels, especially economically, due to the lack of cooperation between the two countries.”


3. Abraham Ambor | Al-Neelain University
Education status: ongoing

“I kept studying at the al-Neelain University after the separation. I was not treated as a foreign student by the university administration nor the students. The people of Sudan and South Sudan were not able to coexist peacefully. The war is still raging in the two states. Their economies are deteriorating against the rise in the exchange rate and the crazily high commodity prices, are accompanied by declining wages. There is no infrastructure in South Sudan. Both states should resolve their conflicts to bring peace to the two peoples who were enormously affected by the war.”


4. Malik Adil | University of Juba
Education status: transferred to another university

“After the separation, my education course changed completely. I was a freshman at the University of Juba, Faculty of Law, when independence was announced and the university was transferred to Juba. I stayed in Juba for two years, waiting to resume my study, but there were no classes or professors available. I went back to Sudan and applied for the Faculty of Aviation Science and am currently paying the tuition fees as a foreign student. In terms of development, I could say both countries failed to establish a real state. I hope that they unite again for a better and stronger country and to stop the war which consumes them both. South Sudan especially suffers health and education problems due to the lack of qualified personnel and the southern students still face difficulties due to their treatment as foreigners.”


5. Winnie Michael | Ahfad University for Women
Education status: pursuing a master’s degree in gender studies

“I did not face any problems at my university but it was difficult to continue my studies as the departure of my family to South Sudan was difficult for me psychologically. I never imagined that one day I would be treated as a foreigner in my own country. Immediately after independence, I traveled with my family to South Sudan and then returned to Sudan to continue my studies. I faced some insults. Once I heard some citizens remark, ‘the monkeys have returned’. Other people asked me, ‘why did you come back after demanding your separation’? Sudan and South Sudan should have helped each other during the past five years, especially in education and health. They should have drawn up trade agreements as both are currently witnessing devastating economic crises. The two countries complement each other and we need to build up a strong relationship with each other. Even if we have been separated, we are still all Sudanese in the end.”

This article is part of:
Five: Enter houses through their doors ...
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