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Dr. Garang Memorial University students protest indefinite closure

Author: Emmanuel Joseph Akile | Published: Thursday, June 24, 2021

Some students of Dr. John Garang Memorial University of Science and Technology protest on Thursday, June 24, 2021 in Bor against the continuous closure of the university. Courtesy

Some students at Dr. John Garang Memorial University of Science and Technology on Thursday morning organized a peaceful protest against the continuous closure of the university.

The learners temporarily blocked the road in and out of Bor town, Jonglei state where the university is located.

“It is almost 2 years now since the school closed and we have heard nothing about the reopening plan from the school administration,” one of the student protestors said.

Last week, the University’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Abraham Matoch, said the institution remains closed after the Ministry of Finance failed to pay the contractor providing food to the students.

The university was supposed to resume in mid-2019 after receiving two months’ operational costs but it was pushed to March 2020 based on the new academic calendar released by the administration.

However, the outbreak of the Coronavirus further prevented its re-opening.

Professor Abraham Matoch said the company contracted to provide food for the students has not been paid by the National Ministry of Finance in Juba.

As a result, the University remains closed.

Some students who are taking part in the ongoing peaceful protest say they are tired of waiting for nearly two years to return to class.

They wonder why other public universities are operating, and not theirs.

The University of Juba, Upper Nile University, Rumbek University and the University of Bahr el Ghazal are all operational.

“We have gone on this peaceful demonstration to bring to the attention of the University and the country at large that we are tired of staying idle at home,” the protestor stated.

Some of them were carrying placards with writings such as; “Education is our rights,” and “University must open without preconditions.”

Another protestor told Eye Radio that “the government has to pay our contractor so that they can bring supplies and our food.”

The amount of money Dr. Garang Memorial University owes the contractor – who has not been paid for two years – is not clear.

However, in September 2018, students complained of the same issue when the unnamed company threatened to cut food supply.

Efforts to reach both the higher education ministry and the ministry of finance were not successful.

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