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South Sudan's main university risks closure over financial squeeze

South Sudan's main university risks closure over financial squeeze

The University of Juba, South Sudan’s main institution of higher learning risks closure due to financial stress according to its vice chancellor.

John Akec, told the BBC that the university could close before the current academic year ends due to the financial crisis.

Whiles hoping that the government will up its funding for the institution he is also reported to have said that students could be asked to contribute money to print their exam papers.

The government recently announced the cancellation of independence celebrations for the second year in a row. They cited the lack of funds as the main reason for the move.

The country, which is the youngest on the African continent, is currently suffering from an armed conflict with the government on one side and an armed opposition on the other.

Violent clashes have led to mass displacement of persons – majority of these people are internally displaced whiles others have fled to neighbouring countries. The fall in commodity prices, especially oil, has also affected the economy with galloping inflation not helping matters.

In May last year, professors and lecturers in South Sudan’s five public universities embarked on strike because of non-payment of their salaries for three months (March – May) and other benefits for the previous year.

The five Universities affected by the strike action were the University of Juba, University of Bahr el Ghazel, Upper Nile University, Dr. John Garang Memorial University of Science and Technology and Rumbek University. President Salva Kiir is Chancellor of all universities in the country.