January 9, 2012 (RUMBEK) - South Sudan’s Lakes State has officially reopened the Rumbek National Senior Secondary School on Monday after a five month closure.
- Rumbek National Secondary School students celebrating the reopening of the school after it was closed for 5 months. Jan. 9, 2012 (ST)
Speaking during the reopening ceremony, student representative Mangar Mayen Makoi said that the school still lacks a fence, learning spaces, latrines, and toilets. He also said the school needed more teachers, a laboratory and fuel to power the generator.
Makoi urged both the South Sudanese government in Juba and the Lakes state government to fulfill their obligations to enable the school to function properly.
Over seven out of ten people in South Sudan are illiterate; a legacy of the two-decade civil war that led to independence last year and chronic underinvestment.
The representative said that the dormitories the students lived in were "very poor".
Makoi said that political interference in education had caused students to strike in the past. He told the governor of Lakes State, who was present at the opening ceremony, that "the students are not troublemakers" but they did demand to have a proper education to give them the chance to find work.
Governor Chol Tong Mayay urged Rumbek National Secondary School students to distance themselves from politicians who came to school compound with unclear agendas to mislead the students in their future study.
He promised that his government would pay for the students with top ten grades to study at university. Mayay said that he hoped this would motivate the students to study and demonstrate that the government would reward hard work.
- Abel Manyuon Jok the headmaster of Rumbek National Secondary School. Jan. 9, 2012 (ST)
Rumbek National secondary school headmaster, Abel Manyuon Jok, urged both state government and Lakes state ministry of education to exert more effort to increase the number of classes and protect the school compound from unauthorised people.
Jok said that more investment was needed to help the school in terms of infrastructure and teaching material.
The reopening of Rumbek National Secondary School was attended by Lakes State government officials, member of the armed forces and representatives from United Nation Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) as well other UN agencies.
In August last year, students from Rumbek National Secondary School destroyed assets belonging to the Lakes State Ministry of Education in protest at the lack of teaching staff and classrooms. The rioting students accused South Sudanese government in Juba and Rumbek of ignoring education and not properly equipping the school.
Daniel Ayual Makoi, the Lakes State deputy governor, who is also the minister of education in Lakes State, said on Monday he had forgiven students who protested and destroyed ministry property.
“I have forgive you today from all your wrong act and I wish now onward we will begin new chapter of accountability”.