More than 70 South Sudanese graduates who completed studies have had their transcripts withheld by various universities over unpaid arrears, the government said.
The director general for admission at the Ministry of Higher Education, Job Akuei Aliith disclosed this while receiving 10 graduates who returned to Juba without their transcripts on Monday.
“For almost two months, we have been working hard to find tickets so that we bring home these students to come and help in the development of our beloved country,” Akuei explained.
He lauded the Central Bank governor, Dier Tong for helping students who had spent two months at South Sudan’s embassy in Zimbabwe.
Akuei said South Sudan government pledged to fund 300 students in Zimbabwe. “We had about 300 students in Zimbabwe whom the South Sudanese government pledged to pay school fees for, but due to war and inflation, government has not cleared the debts,” he said.
The president of the students’ union in Zimbabwe, Moses Majok said the situation was bad as students slept on floors without food.
“It was terrible of course because we had no food to eat. We could sleep on the floor. There is a huge debt of approximately 1.5 million dollars overdue that needs to be paid,” Majok said.
“The Zimbabwean government has been cooperative in that they allowed the students to attend the graduation ceremony, but could not give us our certificates and transcripts and that means we have come home without our degrees. We do not have papers,” he added.
Majok urged authorities to clear the arrears so that they get their transcripts.
In June, angry students on government scholarships occupied the South Sudanese embassy in the Zimbabwean capital, Harare to protest at the government’s failure to pay outstanding fee balances.
In April, South Sudan’s higher education minister, Yien Oral Lam said lack of funds at the finance ministry contributed to delays by government to pay for students studying in foreign nations.
South Sudan, where oil revenues make up nearly 98 percent of the budget, has been reeling under economic woes due to a civil war. – Source: Radio Tamajuz