December 9, 2013 (RUMBEK) - A group of 15 South Sudanese students enrolled in various universities and colleges in East Africa who had their funding cut have called for an urgent government bailout.
He said students are unable to pay their rent and hostels are confiscating their personal property to recoup unpaid debts.
They have called for the central and state governments to provide assistance to help them settle outstanding bills.
Sabit Job Reec, a student at Makerere’s University of Education, accused the Lakes state government of violating a resolution passed by the council of ministers granting them study leave.
Students say the decision by Lakes state’s military caretaker governor, Maj-Gen Matur Chut Dhuol to suspend education grants has caused severe disruption to their studies, forcing many students to dropout.
Reec called on Dhuol to honour the students’ study grants and pay the bills owed to the schools in Uganda, including examination fees and hostel rents.
Reec explained that his personal property had also been seized due to an accumulation of unpaid bills, mainly food and board costs, adding he had already missed a number of semesters due to the situation and the chances of him being able to sit the final examination on 30 December remained slim.
“We are calling for the government of South Sudan [to] bail us out within all those situations because our personal belonging like laptops, certificates of secondary schools, mattresses, bags, clothes and so many more are taken by hostels managers and we have missed exams as well”, Reec said.
Juol Nhomngek, the vice chairperson of Lakes Youth Union, has criticised the decision to withdraw funding as “unwise and selfish”, saying it undermines the future of a generation of young South Sudanese.
Reec said students were now preparing for a generation academic war to fight the decision.
“And as we refer to South Sudan history, we have finished the war from our enemy [in the north] and start the war of illiteracy to quell down all rampant problems of South Sudan like tribalism, corruption, poverty, unemployment, poor health services underdevelopment so many more because it is not [just a] war for government, [but] all the citizen of South Sudan should have to fight to liberate our country from illiteracy”, he said.
Both the Lakes state government and central government of South Sudan declined to comment on the matter.