May 29, 2014 (KAMPALA) - Uganda has accepted a proposal by the South Sudan government to allow its students pay similar tuition fees like Ugandans in public universities.
- South Sudanese students at their embassy in Kampala, Uganda (ST/File)
The new proposal, Uganda’s minister for higher education said, was part of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), yet to be finalised by the two countries.
"The President [Yoweri Museveni] has already given us a green light to allow them [South Sudanese] enjoy the same benefits like local students and the ministry of education is going to write to all the public universities to ensure that they implement this directive", John Muyingo told reporters in Kampala last week.
The minister made the disclosure while meeting South Sudan’s deputy minister for education, science and technology, Bol Makueng Yuol in the Ugandan capital.
South Sudanese are currently required to pay an extra $200 (about UShs507,390) to $300 (UShs761,085) fees as part of tuition fees at state-owned universities.
Officials from the new nation have also tabled another proposal, which if approved, could see 2,030 scholarships granted by Uganda to South Sudanese students in its public universities like Makerere, Kyambogo, Busitema, Mbarara, Gulu and Muni.
SOUTH SUDANESE STUDENTS REACT
Borjam Madit Bakam, a South Sudanese at Cavendish University welcomed the new move, saying it had increasingly become difficult to access dollars for paying tuition.
"So it is really difficult for the students who are study at those universities which are paying in dollars because here, it is not easy for the students to get hard currencies to pay his or her school fees. We see other brothers and sisters who are study other universities are suffering because of dollar", said Bakam.
Alfred Wani, a student at Kampala International University (KIU), said it was always uneasy and hectic for parents to buy dollars using South Sudanese Pounds (SSP).
"To change the pound to dollar it is very difficult sometimes. And here sometime people are going ahead, people will start school, lectures and then you have not yet pay the school fees. They will not allow you to come to attend lecture unless you paid that money", said Wani.
South Sudanese students often prefer Uganda universities given the higher teaching standards and variety of courses offered in both private and public institutions. The proposal, officials said, would enable more South Sudanese access varsity education.