Suez Canal students protest against tuition fees
By William Madouk Garang
South Sudanese students under government scholarship at Suez Canal University yesterday stormed the country’s embassy in Cairo protesting against tuition fees imposed on them by university administration which they termed as a ‘severe’ scholarship violation.
Suez Canal University students said the faculty of Petroleum, Mining and Engineering composed of six departments where the Petroleum and Production Engineering was the only one asking for fee.
According to the students, they had the right to be admitted in any faculty and had the right to specialize in any department and by virtue of the scholarship were exempted from tuition fees in whatever specialization.
In a statement avail to Juba Monitor, South Sudanese students studying at Suez Canal University urged the Ministry of Higher Education and the government to bring a lasting solution to the matter.
“In faculty of petroleum and mining engineering, we have six distinct departments; 1-Petroleum engineering, 2-Petroleum Exploration and Production engineering, 3-Refinery and petrochemical engineering, 4-Metallurgy and materials engineering, 5-Mining and surveying engineering, 6-Geology and geophysical engineering,
“The department number two was the problem in which students were asked money [tuition fees]. The question is why is this department not treated like other departments and which article in the scholarship agreement says it should be treated differently yet it is in the same faculty?” read parts of the statement.
In their demand Suez Canal students called on the government to ensure full exemption of tuition fees was implemented and bachelor certificates of graduates were release or they would continue peaceful protest in the embassy until their demands weremet.
In his rebuttal, the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology, Gabriel Changson Chang said let the students go back to their hostel and give them a chance to handle the issue with their counterpart in the Arab Republic of Egypt.
“They [students] are claiming that there is tuition fees which are not paid or demanded to be paid by university but Egyptian side are saying No, the one they are claiming are tuition fees incurred for private studies which are not included in the scholarship,” Chang said.
“I went to Egypt twice and those scholarships are not fully funded, we struggled until they are now fully taken care of and now we aresupposed to sign amended MOU. But we cannot go to Cairo because we have difficulties and we cannot call our counterpart to come and sign it here again we can’t facilities them,” he added.
He added that Egypt had budgeted 24 million pounds (Egyptian) for 300 scholarships program to be fully funded and that should be appreciated, adding that until a new MOU was signed for the 300 scholarships there would always be tuition fees.
“That’s why we resort to sending request letter to our counterpart in Cairo to delegate power of signing MOU to their ambassador here with us than it would become fully funded. Even the Egyptian side they are saying if you don’t sign MOU the 300 scholarship will not be fully funded there willalways be a tuition fees,” he noted.