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S. Sudan student union welcomes high fees cancellation

December 15, 2016 (JUBA) - The union of students at various public universities in South Sudanese have issued a statement welcoming cancellation of the increase in the tuition fees, describing the decision as “wise and caring”.

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South Sudanese students at their embassy in Kampala, Uganda (ST/File)

“As the union of the students, we welcomed the decision. It is wise move and demonstrates how much the president cares and places the interest of the people of this country above the interest of self-seeking and promoting interest,” said Peter Deng, a fourth year Juba University student.

“We now appeal to the minister of higher education to ensure the decision of the president is implemented and those who took such a unilateral decision be made to answer for their actions”, added Deng.

The union’s leader, Aboba Eveline, also welcomed the decision reversing the increase; saying returning to the previous fee structure will allow students who may not have been able to continue with their studies as a result of the increase in tuition fees by the university administration.

“Our President has made it easy for all the South Sudanese who are ready to pay for education, and therefore congratulation to our president,” said Aboba.

The students were reacting to a decision by South Sudan President Salva Kiir at the national assembly on Wednesday where he declared cancelation of the increase in tuition fees, attributing it to the challenges the country and his administration was facing as a result of the continuing war.

The University of Juba, in particular, issued a circular in October 2016 that stating a student would pay up to 5,000 pounds per semester, representing a 300% increase from the previous tuition charges.

Juba Vice Chancellor, John Akech said the increment was necessary in sustaining activities of the government-owned institution.

He attributed the cause of the decision to fiscal deficits in the budget allocated to the institution in the annual budget.

The Vice President further explained that the tuition fees which his administration collects from students were used to provide services to operate the university because of lack of other sources of revenue to fund the operation.

(ST)