Home | News    Friday 4 February 2011

South Sudan caught unprepared by influx of thousands of university students from the north


February 3, 2011 (JUBA) – The government of the emerging, independent South Sudan is being caught unprepared by a voluntary migration of thousands of university students from universities in northern Sudan. Also officials in the Sudanese parliament and administration say they are already perceived as foreigners.

The Southern students decided to leave classes in the north of Sudan and have moved to South Sudan, following the preliminary announcement of the referendum results in favour of independence.

GoSS VP Riek Machar and ministers meeting with senior university lecturers, Juba, Feb. 3, 2011 (ST)

Under normal circumstances, the separation of the South would be a phased process of disengagement from institutions and the repatriation of southern officials from the northern government.

About 4,000 South Sudanese university students have rushed to their homeland, following the referendum exercise, according to the chairman of the South Sudan Lecturers Association, Andre Athiba, and confirmed by the minister of higher education in South Sudan, Joseph Okello.

In a meeting on Thursday with the vice president, Riek Machar and a number of ministers, including the minister of finance and economic planning, David Deng Athorbei, Athiba said the situation was getting serious as the three main universities in South Sudan’s three regions are not ready to accommodate the huge influx of students. The students spontaneously decided to leave the north of Sudan after the referendum, despite the government’s policy of trying to keep them in the north of Sudan, until necessary preparations are complete, nearer the official announcement of results on 9 July.

One of the university students, identified as Joseph Deng, who recently returned from the North following the announcement of preliminary results, said northerners including their university colleagues and some lecturers have been urging them to leave and move to their new country.

"They always ask, what are you waiting for? They tell us you have voted for separation and now you have independent country in the South, then what are you waiting for?” he said, adding that northerners had already begun to view southerners as foreigners after the voting result. “Southerners have also become nervous and scary in the North,” he further explained.

Issues of accommodation for the students and learning space such as lecture halls, hostels and labs were highlighted.

Deng also explained the difficulties South Sudanese lecturers have been facing difficulties, including poor salaries, which encourages some to opt for positions in government and NGOs. He appealed to the government to correct the situation.

The Vice President assured the lecturers that the government is aware of the importance of their role in the development of human resources in the emerging independent state. The Government of Southern Sudan will look into the situation and come up with a decision to resolve the issue, he assured the lecturers.

Also, tens of thousands of primary and secondary school pupils are said to have been repatriated to South Sudan. In Warrap state alone, around 4,000 students have come from northern schools and there are insufficient school places for them. An insufficient number of teachers has compounded the situation. According to the minister of general education, Milly Hussein, only 27 teachers are available in Warrap for the 4,000 pupils coming from the north of Sudan.


The situation has become different as some South Sudanese officials in northern executive and legislative institutions have already moved to South Sudan, before the official result announcement.

Speaking to Sudan Tribune, a southern member of the National Assembly in Khartoum who travelled to Juba following the announcement of preliminary results said it was redundant for him to stay in the North.

"We are being seen as foreigners by our colleagues in the National Assembly following the announcement of referendum results for secession. Whenever we attempt to comment as MPs on issues affecting the North, our colleagues criticize us informally and look at it as an interference in their internal northern affairs because the South has already voted for independence and has its own parliament in Juba that discusses issues pertaining to the South,” said the MP who chose to remain anonymous.

“We are not being taken seriously in the North and our stay there has proved to be redundant and irrelevant after the independence vote,” he continued.

Official sources have also revealed that Khartoum government has recalled to northern Sudan all members of its component of the Joint Integrated Units (JIUs). The Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) deployed about 12,000 soldiers as JIUs in the South. Most of them are southerners.

The deputy commander of the National Security and Intelligence Service, Majak Agot, who heads the body in the southern branch is said to have directed all the southern members of the national security service to withdraw to the South from the North.


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  • 4 February 2011 07:18, by Anyang

    I suggest, the government sent them to the neighbouring countries for the meantime to continues their studies.

    • 4 February 2011 07:33, by Gatbentiu

      Sending these students to foreign countries can cause GOSS million of pounds.For the meantime the student can give the government time to prepared.The three universities in the South ’re not enough as some of the technical faculties ’re in Khartoum,its not bad if they stay at home for two years as the government may introduce/installed/increase the number of universities.


      • 4 February 2011 09:45, by kuac Agol


        I felt completely stupid when i hear that don,t want GOSS waste million in neighbour yet the million of pound is spent on our brothers in Uganda,South Africa ,Kenya and others for sponsoring students like the brother coming from north.

        Do you mean that students sent outside South South Sudan in term of technicality including you if you prehape reached that standard yourself? And other question is did you have right to Education and security yourself no matter where you have done your education whether it was under tree?

        • 4 February 2011 10:29, by Gatbentiu

          Kuach dear,For how long ’re we going to depend on our neighbor? for instance we get our food from East Africa education clothes and any other human needs.Educating 4,000 students for four years is not a joke,the money which the government ’ll be using to educate them should be enough to construct good university which can accommodate more then the 4,000 students.A few student which got sponsorship from GOSS ’re sometime in miserable conditions,education,food and shelter ’re the basic needs of human being.I can advise the government to only assist those students in secondary and primary level.If you had been in University from North please look for job and sponsor yourself South Sudan is not yet a country.


      • 4 February 2011 22:44, by Biggy K

        I sympathize with our brethren who are fleeing a possible wrath of persecution from the desparate North. I would like our leaders to sit down and draw plans and straight framework that will help these talented Southerners in their quest for education. After all, these are the same people that South will look upon as the new nation jump-starts her road to recovery following the ill-fated war that ravaged the country.
        Once again, I feel there should be no reason blockading their enrolment in our universities in the South, all that our leaders gotta do is to factor in the necessary resources to renovate the current conditions of our public universities. The government should also create a conducive atmosphere for private, both local and foreign investments in education sector. Last, but not the least, increase the number of public universities in South Sudan. I understand some states like Eastern Equatoria, Western Equatoria, only to mention but a few, have no universities. This is what our mighty GoSS should look into before options are overriden.

    • 4 February 2011 08:03, by sunny


      It’s is not a time for us to waste money by offering scholarship in foreign countries. The money that is suppose to be use for the aforementioned foreign scholarship should be use for expanding, renovating and constructing South sudan universities, in order to accommodate the huge influx of returnees students from the north and.


    • 4 February 2011 11:58, by Nhomlawda

      We have five public Universities that include; Juba National University, University of Bahr-el-Gazal, Upper Nile University, John Garang University of Science and Technology, and Rumbek University. Government should build adequate hostels and lecture theatures in those universities within the next two years to accommodate students.
      This problem is a result of a complete lack of planning; GOSS knew it was getting an independence country and the building projects did not commend early.
      Those students from north have low English education level which can not make them pass in East African universities.

      • 5 February 2011 06:56, by Victory


        I agree with you bro, GoSS knew it but refused to prepar in advance,Goss leaders has been useing the public funds for their personal intrest such as buying lexury houses across east africa,puting all childerns in the best schools & universities there with a high school fees & also compitition among their wifes about who own the best house & best furnitures, &going to treatment with the whole families to the expenive counties, Goss leaders has been getting marriad to more than 1 wife with whos money?the answer is with public funds,how are they getting paid at the first place?how much salary do they get?truth should be told,GOSS should be held responsible for this event,& they should do something regarding this flamble issue.iam really sorry for my fellew student.

  • 4 February 2011 10:03, by Lokaku

    Mr. Majak Agot of the National Security and Intelligence Service is advised that he should immediately place his operatives coming from the North and those currently in the South in a re-education camp. These operatives are used to carrying out extra-judicial activities in the North and even in the south. In an independent South Sudan, we shall not tolerate these activities.They should be taught about respect for human rights and not to obey unlawful orders from their superiors or politicians. As a matter of fact the security aspect should be removed from this organisation as we already have the police doing this. Their job should strictly be gathering intelligence for the government (not SPLM or any other political party). They should therfore not have any power of arresting any body. If during the course of their gathering intelligence, they come across criminal activities, they should immediately inform the police or if urgent, effect a citizen’s arrest and hand the culprits to the police.

    Sudan, including the South is currently a police state. We have to get rid of this situation if have to start as a civilised society. After independence we want the customs, immigration and the issuing of driver’s licences/testing of drivers/registration of motor vehicles to be done by civilians. There is still time to train these civilians. Let the police do the job they are trained to do: enforcing the law!

  • 4 February 2011 15:48, by Janafil

    These students are joking, how come soming is getting income from you and at the same time chasing you away, look the northerners are ready to recognize the results that mean they have no problem, I advise these students to leave those complaint and let South Government be stable first and keep an eye on what will happen during the anouncement of the seperation of the South in July and and also glimpsing on the other issues in the CPA like those one of Abei,Blue Nile and Nuba Muontain or else let them go to Ethiopia,Kenya, Uganda and find thier school for the meantime like what we did, I think all of us were self subsidize.


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