By Pal Chol Nyan, Juba, South Sudan
April 8, 2017 (SSB) — The country, which could have been a land of milk and honey, is at war with itself. The economy has crumbled and attempts to revive it produce no efficacious results. The government says it is trying its best to help rectify the situation but we are yet to see something tangible. There is no hope for the future at all and if any, it is a remote possibility.
There are disheartening reports of widespread killings and insecurity in some parts of the country. It is too hard to bear.
Another disconcerting news is that the students in Zimbabwe are in limbo; they are marooned in the Embassy of South Sudan there. They have been kicked out of the classes and dormitories because their tuition fees have not been paid. They have nothing or little to eat. Their parents are asked by the Ministry of Higher Education to send them air tickets to return home.
Prof Bol Deng said the Ministry tried and explored all the avenues with the Presidency and the Ministry of Finance to get it sorted but to no avail.
It is a setback and a shame to bring back students on government scholarships. Some of these students are finalists. The country need them for state building. Cutting short their studies for lack of tuition fees and feeding allowances is very sad and it is taking us back to square one. Something must be done to rescue them so that they continue.
I am very much concerned because If I happen to be one of them; how will I and my parents feel? We would definitely be disappointed. That is the situation these students and their parents have found themselves in.
Their parents work for the government but they are not paid on time. Even if they get their salaries, they will not be able to educate and feed them; leave alone, sending them tickets to come back home. I was very wise enough to turn down a political and politicised scholarship provided and later turned out to be a fiasco.
My colleagues who offered to go are now regretting. They wish they knew! Many of them have suspended studies and are back. The non-binding promise to wire them some monthly stipends during the period of their studies has been blatantly dishonoured. When they raised it with the concerned body; they were told and I quote “we cannot milk the bird”.
Those who remained behind are being supported by their parents. Education is very important and denial of it is a serious political and administrative failure and mishap. Where there is a strategic planning, the budget of education follows the security then comes agriculture and health.
I think the confusion comes because there is no programme for priorities. This is a wake-up call for those who always rush to have their children sent on scholarships.
You can reach the author via his email: Palchol Nyan <email@example.com>
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