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University of Juba students protest access restrictions

Author: Charles Wote | Published: Monday, October 26, 2020

University of Juba students stage protests against access restriction to those who haven't cleared their fees, citing economic crisis, Monday, October 26, 2020 | Credit | Logonyi Denis

Students at the University of Juba have staged protests against the recent decision by university to restrict access to those who have not cleared their fees.

Last week, Vice-Chancellor Professor John Akec issued a circular, notifying all students that those who did not pay tuition fees would not be allowed to access the university.

On Monday, some students affected by the order were reportedly prevented from accessing both the main and Customs campuses.

As a result, a former student leader said students then peacefully protested against the new policy, citing economic hardships.

According to the 2019 fee structure, a course costs between  50,000 and 86,000 Pounds.

“So, the students met and called for a demonstration, with some students forcing their way into the university premises,” Kochdiit Ngor, former president of the students’ union, told Eye Radio.

A notice from the administration instructs the students to access either campus by showing a valid student identity card, and that’s obtained after clearance of tuition fee.

However, the students’ representatives have requested “extension of the registration period” in order to meet the requirements.

“The university administration did not even manage to process the student IDs of those who have already paid,” Ngor added.

They also would like the administration to identify the few students have paid the fees and give them handouts.

When contacted by Eye Radio, the Vice-Chancellor, Professor John Akech promised to comment on the matter later.

The university just reopened months after it was closed down due to the coronavirus pandemic, which was first recorded in South Sudan in April, 2020.

Last week, market prices shot up after South Sudanese pound significantly lost against the US dollar.

This came after the central bank announced that it had run out of foreign reserves, an announcement it later denied.

Several other factors led to the crisis, including the drop in global oil prices and the impacts of the Covid-19.

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