By Ephraim Modi Duku Sokiri
Public University lecturers who threatened to lay down their tools last week over payment of improved two years salaries arrears will finally be paid their arrears today Tuesday 11th April.
The Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology, Gabriel Changson Chang confirmed the latest development to No.1 Citizen on Phone yesterday.
“Yes, (they will be paid on Tuesday) it is a process but this is what the ministry of finance said. Money is there, and money for two (months), the arrears for the two months. The arrears for March is (are) in the account of the finance,” he said.
A day after the public universities’ students strike threats, President Salva Kiir issued a directive to the Minister of Finance to pay off February, March salaries arrears and air tickets allowances to teaching staff at the country’s public universities.
In September 2022, Bahr el Ghazal, Upper Nile, and Rumbek universities went on strike, demanding payment of salary arrears with adjustments to cater for the runaway hyperinflation in the country.
South Sudan as a war-torn country tallying with the global benchmark for an absolute poverty at two dollars per day, would be safe to say teachers are in appalling situations.
With reports of teachers fainting in class over hunger, changing careers or watching their family fragment is common with the government pledging gradually more resources to security than in physical or social infrastructure in the 2019/2020 budget.
UNICEF reports that a generation of children in South Sudan is being deprived of a fair chance in life with more than 2.8 million children, or over 70 per cent, are out of school in South Sudan, putting at risk their future and the future of the country.
Some of the out-of-school children are living in pastoral communities, moving with their cattle and are not able to attend regular classes. The largest group of out-of-school children in South Sudan are girls. Poverty, child marriage and cultural and religious views all hinder girls’ education.
They estimated that a child born to an educated mother has a 50 per cent higher chance of survival. The risk of child marriage and early pregnancy is lower if girls stay in school. Educated parents are more likely to send their children to school.