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Gov’t approves about SSP 200 billion for Upper Nile University

By William Madouk

South Sudan Economic Cluster has approved SSP 172, 193,467,873 billion for relocation of Upper Nile University from Juba back to Malakal in Upper Nile State.

This came in a meeting on Wednesday, chaired by Vice President for economic cluster, Dr. James Wani Igga, where higher education minister, Mr. Gabriel Changson Chang, presented a request for the activity.

Since the outbreak of the 2013 and 2016 conflicts, the facility has been badly vandalized, creating a lack of learning space, which later forced the administration of the University to momentarily relocate to Juba.

According to the Minister of petroleum, who is also the cluster spokesperson, Puot Kang Chol the cluster passed the memo and recommended it for consideration by the council of ministries.

“The Cluster also approved a sum of 172, 193,467,873 billion SSP for the relocation of Upper Nile University to its original campuses in Malakal, Renk and Malut,” he added.

Hon. Kang said, based on the minister’s presentation, taking back the university to Malakal would reinforce peace and restore hope among youth in restive Upper Nile State.

“As per representation by the minister, I find that it is high time to relocate this university because it helps consolidate peace in Upper Nile,” he noted.

“It also gives hope to the young generation so that they work hard to make sure they get to the university,” he continued.

According to Kang, the report would be presented to the Council of Ministers for further scrutiny and approval.

Last year, the Vice-Chancellor of Upper Nile University, Prof. Marial Awou Yol, revealed that the proposed budget for the relocation of the Upper Nile variety is estimated to be 34 million US dollars.

According to him, plans to transfer the university back are underway, but logistical issues hinder the relocation, including the renovation of the damaged facility in Malakal, among others.

Professor Awou also added that the intake of students had greatly increased to approx. 4,000 or 5,000 than when it was still in Upper Nile State.

In 2021, the government, together with partners, revived a vocational training center in Malakal, Upper Nile University, to smooth the return of students to the area.

The renovation consists of 29 buildings, including lecture halls, administration buildings, teacher and student accommodation, laboratories, a library, a clinic, and a cafeteria, among others.

The initiative paves the way for 2,000 students displaced and studying in a temporary facility in Juba to return to the main Upper Nile University campus in Malakal and to learn in a secure environment conducive to learning.

Minister of Higher Education, Science, and Technology Gabriel Changson commended the efforts of the Japanese government and UNDP for offering the resources to maintain buildings and carrying out the renovations.

Now, the University of Upper Nile is operating from Juba as the escalation of conflict forced it to close its campus in the 2013 skirmish.

Upper Nile University is one of the higher learning institutions in the country besides Juba University, Bahr El Ghazal University, Rumbek University, and Dr. John Garang University in Bor, Jonglei State.


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