The University of Bahr el Ghazal in Wau State has postponed the re-opening of the new academic year over alleged poor sanitation at the campus.
The reopening of the public university had been scheduled for June.
But according to the Vice-Chancellor, Dr. Victor Kwajok, the latrines and the bathrooms are in bad shape and thus, must be renovated first.
“Our main purpose is to put back the toilets and the bathrooms so that it is a conducive environment for the students to come back to,” he said.
Mr. Kwajok added that a University Council contributed funds to renovate the facility and install clean water system at the university. He said doors will likely open at the beginning of September.
South Sudan has 5 functioning public universities; Juba, Bahr El-Ghazal, Upper Nile, Rumbek and Dr. John Garang.
The dilapidated state of public universities was first revealed in 2016 by the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Juba, Professor John Akech.
In an opinion letter, Dr. Akech said the institutions are seriously underfunded and lack the basic infrastructure, such as quality lecture halls, well-stocked libraries, equipped laboratories, internet connectivity and office space for teaching staff.
“It is just like a child; if you don’t feed them, a child will die,” Dr. Akech said.
He added that this is because the Ministry of Finance often commits to only paying salaries, and hardly earmarks any funds for operation, infrastructure costs or laboratory equipment.
Dr. Akech also said the administration of the University of Juba has noted an increasing number of teaching staff taking leave without pay to work in the NGO sector.
Dr. Victor Kwajok said a similar situation is currently happening in Wau. He said they are understaffed because most of the lecturers have abandoned teaching.
“Most of the academic staffs who are well trained left the University and they decided to go for greener pasture, some are working with NGOs, and others have taken up different jobs altogether,” he said.
The professors warned that the underfunding of the universities will have negative consequences on the country’s economic recovery and retarded economic growth in the coming decades.
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Published Tuesday, April 7, 2020
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