University of Juba puts on new faces
By Opio Jackson
The Vice Chancellor of the University of Juba Prof. John Akec is struggling to change the face of the institution despite the crisis that has halt development activities in the country.
The University of Juba was built in 1975 as the peace dividends of the 1972 Addis Ababa peace agreement that ended the sixteen years Sudan’s first civil war.
However, since then the university structure has remained in its old outlook and it is considered the best university in the country.
Today Prof John Akec has greatly changed the university since his first appointment almost eight years ago.
This improvement has come with a lot of challenges months ago when the University of Juba decided to increase the tuition fees. The decision faced several criticisms from the public and the government decided to intervene and directed the administration to stop the fees hike.
In an exclusive interview with Juba Monitor yesterday, Prof. Robert Deng the Deputy Vice Chancellor for Administration and Finance said the purpose of increasing the fees was to change the face of the institution.
“If you compare this institution with other institutions around the world, they don’t come closer in terms of infrastructure,” Prof. Deng stressed.
He said the structure alone does not look like that of the University.
“If you go around the country most of the developments are being done by the foreign companies and organizations,” says Prof. Deng adding, “We are changing the faces of the university through the little tuition fees we collect from the students.”
He said two years ago Prof. John Akce started the renovation of the university’s gate, saying today the gate completely changed the face of the university.
Right now the administration is doing renovation on the Shamani Hall, the University Library and the pavement on the whole compound.
Prof. Deng said the cost of renovating the Shamani Hall is estimated at 200,000 US dollars while 60,000 US dollars is for the pavement.
“We want to put pavement in the whole compound of the University because when it rains the place becomes muddy and very difficult for people to move around,” he said.
The money that we collect from the students we want to change it with face of the university.
The Deputy Vice Chancellor stresses it is always a policy to say that the government has no money but in reality there is money.
He said the government has money but the issue is how this money is being spent is the difference of saying there is no money.
“Look at the ministers; they are staying in the hotels for years and years. This is just a waste of money that should have been for the development,” Prof. Deng stressed.
“For us the little money we get from the students we use it for the development of the institution so that by the time we leave, we are able to leave behind a legacy,” he says.
Prof. Deng said though they are using the collection from the students to improve the structure of the institution, there are some individuals who often support the University financially.
“There are some generous people outside there when they visit us at the University they prefer to do something with their money instead of sending it abroad for buying houses. They prefer to give it to us so that we facelift the institution,” he said.