Normal operations back at University of Juba
By Woja Emmanuel Wani
University of Juba has resumed normal operations after months stand-off over the hike on tuition fee
At the beginning of the academic year 2019, Vice Chancellors of the five public Universities sent out circulars, informing the students of increases in tuition fees.
The hike was between 50,000 and SSP 86,000 South Sudanese Pounds (SSP).
The increase came nearly two years after the country’s Parliament and President rejected a similar recommendation by the administration.
The hike raised a great uproar from the students which subsequently led to strike and suspension of the university’s normal operations.
In the Council of Ministers meeting on the 22th Of March, President Salva Kiir issued an order directing the VCs of the Public Universities to suspend the fee increment and consider the previous pay.
The VC of the University of Juba Prof. John Akec declined the suspension of the hike demanding for allocation of sufficient funds by the government to run the university.
Last week the government allocated about 10 million South Sudanese Pounds to help boost the activities of the five public universities.
In an interview with Juba Monitor on Thursday last week, the college association leaders at the UoJ said that the administration had reached a concession with the students’ demands and calls from the government.
Albino Kuek, Association leader in the College of Arts and Humanities said that the initial fee-hike by the university administration was not affordable based on the current economic crises.
In a statement issued by the University last Thursday, the administration had deducted 50 percent from the initial hike issued in the circular by the VC.
“When the tuition fee was adjusted, it was beyond the effort of the students as 80,000 SSP at this current situation is not affordable because about 95 percent of the students depend on the salary of the government,” Kuek said.
Kuek said the reaction of the political parties in the university towards the fee hike was misrepresented which prompted the misunderstanding.
“The negotiation was represented in a good faith in the beginning because the political parties in the university were calling for cancelation and we were calling for reduction and that prompted the misunderstanding,” Kuek added.
Meanwhile the Chairperson of the School of Social and Economic Studies Paulino Machar stated that the university administration did not coordinate with the student’s leadership about the increment.
Machar added that in a meeting held on Wednesday last week, the students had agreed on the 50 percent.
“We had a meeting and held a wider consultation about the new fee structure and the students have agreed on the new developments,” Machar added.
Tong Manyuat the Chairperson of UoJ Medical Students’ Association said that the decision for the increment was realistic be could not be achieved by the current economic catastrophe in the country.
Manyuat cited that some colleges in the university were not well equipped and the increase would help advancement of some developmental projects in the university.
According to a document issued by the university, registration for all classes resumes today while lectures will resume on 30th of this month.