Students protest, demand reopening of Dr. John Garang University

By Deng Ghai Deng 

Students at Doctor John Garang Memorial University of Science and Technology in Jonglei State capital Bor rioted on Thursday demanding that university authorities reopen the university and resume lectures.

The university has remained closed for more than a year despite the lifting of a lockdown aimed at curbing the spread of Covid-19.

Hundreds of students from Dr. John Garang Memorial University of Science and Technology chanted slogans as they participated in today’s protest. They put barricades along the Pakwau highway paralyzing traffic along the main road linking Bor airstrip to the rest of the town as all cars and trucks got stuck.

The students carried placards with writings such as; “education is our right,” and “university must reopen without preconditions.”

Some students who took part in the peaceful protest said they were tired of waiting for nearly two years to return to class. They say they wonder why their university remains closed months after other public reopened.

Majok Daniel, a 4th-year student says the delay in reopening their university has negatively affected him as he should have graduated a year ago.

“It has been two years since our university was closed. And after the Covid-19 lockdown was lifted, all schools reopened but our university remains closed. So, we demand that the government should avail food for the university reopen.” Majok said

Another student, Ayuen Garang, urged the government to immediately intervene by supplying food for the university to be reopened.

“We are tied of staying at home. We accepted to stay at home last time because of COVID-19 lockdown. Now the lockdown has been lifted, why close the university? We are here today to urge the authorities concerned to solve whatever the issue so that we resume lectures immediately.” Garang said.

Ajith Solomon Awan, the head of the university’s students Union, says the students are protesting because they are frustrated that the administration has delayed to reopen the university.

“The students were promised several times and nothing had worked out. The demands are that the university is reopened and our food contractor is paid by the government to bring food.” Awan said.

Professor KuelMaluil, the University’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor, said the institution remains closed because there is no food for the students feeding.

“We cannot open the university when there is no food. The University of Juba can open without food because the students there could find places to eat like restaurants or at their relativeshomes. But that is not the case here in Bor, we have students coming from Aweil and from Equatoria and they don’t have any relatives here. It could be hard for them,”Maluil said.

Maluil urges the students to be patient as the administration engages with the government to allocate the money needed for the students feeding before the institution reopens.

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