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South Sudan seeks to invest in university education amid peace  

JUBA South Sudan (Xinhua) -- South Sudan said on Monday it will prioritize investing more in higher education to achieve quality standards and competitiveness in a bid to help transform its human resource and economy.

Yien Oral Lam Tut, minister of higher education, said that they will invest and support the five public universities and collaborate with private universities to strengthen quality education, hence making it attractive for the brilliant South Sudanese who often pursue education on scholarships outside the country.

“Higher education should be getting a total of 5 percent of the national budget annually. This is going to improve with the coming of peace since the service sector like education has not been fully funded due to conflict and economic hardship,” he told journalists in Juba.

Oil-dependent South Sudan passed 2018/19 budget of 600 million U.S. dollars of which the service sector, including education, roads and capital development, were not given much priority due to the urge to end the over four years conflict.

Tut disclosed that falling standards and quality in higher education are due to the country losing some of its bright students and human resource to outside countries in pursuit of quality education and jobs, hence the need to invest more in the sector.

“The very qualified students are going outside the country due to availability of scholarships which affects quality in our education, but we need to retain these students to maintain standards,” said Tut.

The five public universities include University of Juba, Rumbek, and Bahr El Ghazal, John Garang University of Science and Technology and University of Upper Nile.

South Sudanese students have benefited from scholarships offered by China, which are aimed at improving the technical capacity of the youngest nation which has been bedeviled by conflict since winning independence from Sudan in 2011.

Michael Lopuke, undersecretary in the ministry of general education, said the education is positively improving due to the fact they have managed to set up national curriculum with support from China.

“We no longer rely on foreign curriculum from Sudan, Uganda and Kenya. What we are using now is South Sudan curriculum. This will assure us of stable foundation in education,” he said.

China recently helped develop books with South Sudan curriculum and has also been equipping officials and teachers with expertise in the education field.

“For the first time we shall be able to launch books that are based on South Sudan curriculum,” said Lopuke.


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