17th January 2021
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Striking Bahr el Ghazal University lecturers accuse administration of intimidation

Author: Joakino Francis | Published: Thursday, January 7, 2021

Entrance of the University of Bahr el Ghazal | Credit | Gurtong

The academic staff of the University of Bahr el Ghazal in Wau have accused the management of threatening to dismiss them if they do not end their strike, a claim denied by an administration official.

They said the assistant teaching staff issued warnings to the lecturers to facilitate examinations or risk losing their jobs.

The academic staff have been on a sit-in strike since the middle of last month.

They are demanding their unpaid salaries.

The lecturers said they have not been paid since the beginning of 2020.

They urged the Ministry of Higher Education and that of Finance to pay them off if they are to supervise exams and suspend their strike.

But speaking to Eye Radio yesterday, the Secretary-General of Bah el Ghazal University Academic Staff accused the administration of dividing the striking staff by forcing others to resume work.

“We have been divided by the top administration,” Joseph Ohure alleged. “You know students for the examination as I speak, and Mr Peter Atem bought all the teaching assistants…and gave them warning that anyone who fails to invigilate the examinations will be automatically dismissed.”

When contacted by Eye Radio, the deputy vice-chancellor for the Academic Affairs rubbished the claims.

“I have never threatened any teaching staff,” Professor Peter Atem responded.

“I have concentrated on conducting examination on the 4th January -as scheduled. We got a call from the governor of Western Barh el Ghazal state to meet with us so we went, she advised us to conduct the examination on the scheduled date.”

Joseph Ohure insists that they will continue with the strike until all their arrears are paid.

“We are going to have a meeting on the date 12 January this month and if there is no salary paid we shall still declare another strike indefinitely or else see the consequence of what is going to happen.”

Lecturers in the other five public universities have also gone for more than eight months without pay.

Last year, the Deans’ Board of the University of Juba appealed to the ministry of finance to pay arrears of eight months to all public university lecturers.

A professor is said to receive about 500,000 South Sudanese Pounds and a teaching assistant earns about SSP 125,000 while a lecturer gets about SSP 250,000 per month.

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