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South Sudan’s increases salaries for university staff to encourage academics to return

August 12, 2011 (JUBA) – The government of the Republic of South Sudan has resolved to increase salaries of university staff in order to attract teaching professionals to take up the profession in the newly independent nation.

At a meeting of South Sudan’s Council of Ministers on Friday chaired by the Vice President, Riek Machar, the cabinet endorsed the budget for the country’s five universities. These include the University of Juba, Upper Nile University, Bahr el Ghazal University, Rumbek University and Dr. John Garang’s University in Bor.

In a press statement, the caretaker minister of information and government’s spokesperson, Barnaba Marial Benjamin, said the memo was presented to the cabinet by the caretaker minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, Joseph Ukel Abango.

The salaries were reviewed and upgraded for the university staff including the Vice Chancellors and their deputies, principals, professors, lecturers and assistant lecturers.

He added that the increment of the salaries was based on comparison of Sudan’s salary scale and that of East African countries, putting into consideration the need to encourage South Sudan academics to return to the country.

South Sudan suffers from a brain drain as many of its academics live abroad. Around four million people were displaced by the conflict between Sudan’s North and South which lasted four over two decades until a 2005 peace deal.

A key part of the agreement allowed South Sudan to vote on secession in January. The plebiscite paved the way for South Sudan’s declaration of independence.

Previously a lecturer received a salary of less than 2,000 South Sudanese Pounds (SSP) but the current increment will raise it to about 5,000 SSP, which is equivalent to about 2,000 US dollars per a month.

The cabinet has therefore approved a budget of over 209 million SSP to cover the salaries and allowances in all the South Sudanese universities.

Illiteracy and lack of skilled workers are to of the major problems facing the nascent nation, which is one of the poorest in the world.