17th January 2021
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Ethiopia-based students stranded in Juba

Author: Jale Richard | Published: Friday, December 25, 2020

Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia hosts some of the students stranded in Juba: Photo/Addis Ababa University Website

Some students on government scholarships in Ethiopia are stranded in Juba as the government has not released funds to facilitate their return to school.

The students were brought back to Juba by the government in June after Ethiopia closed universities to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease.

The Ministry of Higher Education then reportedly promised to provide the students with return air tickets and visa fees for some whose residential permits have expired.

But according to the students’ union, universities there have started reopening this week.

“The challenge that has come in now, the ministry of finance is delaying to release the money and they are going for Christmas break while some of the students are needed on the 25th of this month by their universities,” said Ayiik Mabior, the information minister for South Sudan Students’ Association in Ethiopia.

“Now it is a challenge because we have talked with the ministry of finance and higher education but they are telling us to wait. There is no fixed date when they will give us the money for these students to go.”

Mr. Ayiik says the government has facilitated the return of 24 students — all finalists while180 students in lower classes have remained behind.

An air ticket to Ethiopia reportedly costs about 600 US dollars.

The students are also expected to pay 75 US dollars for coronavirus tests.

Mr. Ayiik says some of the students’ parents cannot raise the money.

“When the government said that they are going to facilitate our return, most of the parents relaxed,” he said.

“The challenge is that for the students who are expected by the 25th and others expected by 29th, it is hard to afford the ticket from here to Addis Ababa. You know it is very expensive with all the other processes.”

Some of the students are expected to start examinations at the beginning of January.

“In South Sudan sometimes things can be said but they don’t work the way they are said,” Mr. Ayiik added.

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