Home | Comment & Analysis    Friday 26 September 2008

Changing John Garang Institute to University

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By Mawut Guarak

September 25, 2008 (New York, USA)—For the first time since the creation of this planet, the marginalized people of Sudan and South Sudanese in particular have seen a more perfect peace. The Comprehensive Peace Agreement brought not only peace but also freedom, progress, and prosperity for the most marginalized people in the world. In real sense, there has never been a single institution of higher education in South Sudan despite the existence of three regional universities.

The three Southern universities in Juba, Malakal, and Wau were only in names but never exist on South Sudan’s soil. It was until after the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) when the Government of South Sudan started to repatriate them back home. Southerners have been forced to give up their religion and change identity in order to attend Islamized institutions of higher education in Khartoum and its surroundings. Thanks to the CPA, these universities are now relocating back to their original areas of belonging.

However, three universities are not enough in an area bigger than the Republics of Kenya and Uganda combined with a population of approximately 11 million people. There is a need for more institutions to be opened in South Sudan; thanks to the GOSS and GoNU for the establishment of Rumbek University. Rumbek University became the fifth institution of higher education in South Sudan after Juba National University, University of Upper Nile, University of Bhar el Ghazal, and John Garang Institute of Technology; yet it is not operational as of now.

Established in 2007, John Garang Institute of Technology brought joy, confidence, and hope to South Sudanese people. It is a sign that those who died, including Dr. Garang, laid down their lives for the betterment of the entire country and that their legacies are kept, and scarifies will be honored for ever. Not because it is named after the Founding Father of our Nation, John Garang Institute is a foundation by which Government of South Sudan stand up proud and convinces her citizens of what it has started to do.

However, John Garang Institute of Technology still needs more work to be done. South Sudan has more students from Eastern African and else where ready for university but lack of institutions in South Sudan is keeping them away from pursuing this goal. That is why it is important to change John Garang Institute to John Garang University. Changing the Institute to University status will help South Sudanese and GOSS in many ways.

First, as a university, the Institute will be more flexible in academic sense. It will bring academic diversity to the Campus. Being it an Institute, the college has limited definition in fulfilling academic needs in South Sudan. It will only have to deal with areas of study that best fall under the definition of “institute.” But as a University, it will accommodate any area of study from Liberal Arts, Law, Medicine, Engineer, Foreign Languages, just to name a few; and this will open more doors for thousands of South Sudanese with secondary school education to pursue their dreams.

Second, since South Sudan is hunting for a place to train public servants in public administration, the campus has already hit the nail on the problem. The Institute is now offering bachelor’s degrees in four fields of studies including Public Administration. The Government of South Sudan can take advantage of that by sending its public servants to learn at the University. All it need is to support it so as to be at the international level through funding and recruitment of more qualified instructors.

Third, the University will balance distant and offer more chances for people who may not have access to the “first” urban centers of Juba, Malakal, and Wau where the other Universities are located. At this moment Rumbek University is not operational; hence John Garang University will take in students from rural States of Jonglei, Lakes, Unity, Eastern Equatoria, northern Central Equatoria, and beyond. The College of Science and Technology shall then be established within the University to train South Sudanese and citizens of the marginalized areas from Blue Nile, Nuba Mountains and other places in high-tech to compete in the global market of the 21st century.

With these few examples, the Institute administration, Jonglei government (established the Institute) and GOSS (recently promoted the institute as a national university) must act and make this move on a timely manner. It will be easier to do it now than later. Precisely, I robustly urge Chancellor Aggrey Ayuen to study this article and use it as it seems fit.

The author is a former Jiesh el Amr (red army) and a graduate student residing in New York; he can be reached at mguarak@gmail.com



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  • 26 September 2008 08:31, by J.James

    Mr. Mawut

    I really appreciate your bright ideas. However, as graduate, it is better to know the difference of college, university, and institute.

    In brief, university is a learning institution which offers degrees to the graduate rather than undergrades.

    In case of Garang institute, I don’t understand whether the institute have a gut to offer MBA and PhDs as most of the universities do?

    Lastly, it surprise me to see that, Garang institute attrack many students from east Africa without attracting student from its own state. that sound loony to me.

    Well let hope for the best.

    God bless.

    The writer is the hunter around Nanaham, Kongkong, and Lotila rivers.

    repondre message

    • 27 September 2008 08:50, by Guarak

      Mr. J. James,

      Thank you for your respond to this article.

      I wish I can respond to your argument as you put it; howeve; a significant majority of your argument is in fact answered in the article itself. I am afraid that you didn’t read the article very closely. The difference betweent Institute, College and University is clearly spelt out in paragraphs 6 and 7; you may research more information on your own.

      The only way I can respond to your article once again is when you fail to comprehend this points for the second time. Good luck.

      Mawut Guarak

      repondre message

  • 26 September 2008 08:35, by Majak-da

    Bravo Mr Mawut for the notice.

    Fortunately enough, the gov’t and ASCOM are sealing a deal on Friday and hopefully, our reporter in Bor Town will answer most of your enquiries.

    Otherwise, thank you very much.

    repondre message

    • 26 September 2008 18:58, by Madhod

      It is a good ideas and could be something very useful. But there is different between having a good idea and having the means to put that idea in practice. Right now, GoSS is struggling financially to finance those three existing institution, they don’t have the money to fund another full University. We needs to move steadly and being overwhelm by the needs of having or the prestige of having a University. There are lots of things to be done to runs a University, we needs time to invest in big University, otherwise if we start rushing now, we could end up failing these University in the runs. My point is that lets not rush, because the GoSS doesn’t have the kinds of money to fully funded the three existing University, and adding a another university would hurt the GoSS financially.
      In addition to that, I don’t think we a good number of students that are ready to persue MBA, PHDs, and MD degree now in South Sudan, the small number have now can use the current three university untill we got the maximum number students ready for professional studies. I beliew in five years time, we will be ready, but now. Lets use the little budget we have now to fund clinics or build a new clinic in rurals they are needs the most.

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  • 27 September 2008 16:15, by martin simon wani

    You are right Monhod, if this is your real name.Our focus should be in the quality education not many weak Universities.In fact failure of GON to finance the Universities in Southern Sudan is another violation of the CPA, because up to now, legally all the universities in the country are under the government of national unity. I think GOSS is just helping the existing Southern Universities to remedy their situation, becasue it is like they have been neglected by GON. But this does not mean that GOSS can really finance these Universities sufficiently if not so why are they failing to establish University of Rumbek?. How can we demand for creation of more Universities when we can not manage the existing ones? We should change our attitude from quantitative to qualitative thinking, becasue that is why we have so many unestablished states, counties, payams and even Bomas, yet people are asking for more. Can we really compare some of our states with districts in some of our neigbhouring countries?

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  • 28 September 2008 23:23, by malok

    I would like to share with you what I think is a major problem in reference to opening more and more universities in South Sudan. I was in Sudan last April, universities become wishy-washy due to lack of qualified lecturers. you can now teach in one of the universities in Sudan with experience only, that is a bizzare situation. Before we rush to establishing so many higher education institutions, let us train first instructors that would cater competent graduates that could make difference in development that we need badly. Furthermore, let us address the cronyism issue that becomes dominant on employment in Juba. There are now southerners with degrees who are jobless in Juba becuase they don’t know someone in top management. In summary, let us first, secure qualified instructors; second, address cronyism problem such that our graduates can be able to find jobs through competition, but not who you know in the government in order to move our infant country forward. Thanks,
    Malok

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