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Why is there 'no budget' for John Garang Institute? Students ask.

By Philip Thon Aleu April 16, 2009 (BOR) -- Students at John Garang Institute of Science and Technology -- Bor, who have been "patient enough", met on Wednesday April 15 to determine their 'academic future' stranded at Government Southern Sudan (GOSS) delays to allocate it budget.

Students gathering at John Garang Institute. (Photo by Ph. Thon Aleu)

Institute authorities, however, call for more patience but observed that there is still no budget to start activities at the campus. In a charged meeting, also unclosed to the press, the students expressed worries over GOSS impediment to cater for the Institute despite the fact that South Sudan acknowledges it existence. "Why is there is no budget for our Institute?" the Dean of Student, the only Institute official attending the meeting, is asked but has no immediate answer. The students overwhelmingly proposed and backed a sit-down-hunger strike [at the campus] -- what they call "plan A", only to be put off after five (5) hours of intensive talks when the Institute chancellor Prof. Agrey Ayuen intervened by a phone call from Khartoum. Jonglei authorities were also engaged in a meeting discussing possible release of loan to the Institute refundable by GoSS which assisted Prof. Agrey Ayuen to convince the students. A final meeting is scheduled for Friday April 17 to be also attended by Deputy Governor of Jonglei State Hussein Mar Nyuot. AGREEMENTS 'NULL AND VOID' Dr. John Garang de Mabior Institute of Science and Technology in Jonglei capital Bor had it established commenced during the regime of former Governor Philip Thon Leek in an agreement with ASCOM Co., a Moldovan oil companies operating here. John Garang de Mabior, whom the Institute is named after him was a born from Bor and the former leader of Sudan the former rebels -- the Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) which now rules the semi-anonymous South as part of the peace agreement reached with Khartoum Government in 2005. He was killed in a helicopter crash few days after becoming the First Vice President of the Sudan and President of Southern Sudan Government. Following his pre-successor footsteps, Governor Kuol Manyang Juuk sealed a separate agreement with Free International University of Moldova (ULIM) in January, 2008 enabling the later to send lecturers to the Institute which officially opened on February 2, 2008. 104 students were admitted for four courses including Pharmaceutical Technology, Ecology (Natural Science), Law and Forestry & Agriculture. ASCOM catered for the of students' well-beings as well the whole running of the Institute in yet another agreement in 2008. In the same year also, Jonglei authorities requested South Sudan President Salva Kiir Mayardit to recognize the Institute and hence, an Act of Establishment was signed by the President, who also appointed Prof. Agrey Ayuen Majok as the vice-chancellor in July that year. The vice chancellor, as a presidential appointee, labeled all agreements signed before him as 'null and void.' Thus, in February, 2009, Prof. Agrey Ayuen Majok, as government representative, took control of the Institute halting the activities of ULIM. A first semester for the first year students ended on December 19, 2008 and the seconded was scheduled to begin on February 1, 2009. Two-and-half months on holidays pending budgetary allocation, time has ripen for the students to decry the continuing delays. "When the president of the Government of Southern Sudan (GoSS) issued a decree, appointing Prof. Agrey (Ayuen Majok) as the vice chancellor, it signaled that the government was nationalizing the Institute. But we are surprised that there is no budget to run the Institute!" a student identified as John wondered. But what is so funny is that South Sudan took full control of the Institute this year, he continued, stopping the Free International University of Moldova (ULIM) from sending lecturers only to left us hanging. "We have been patient enough," his colleagues applauded. David Malual Wuor, the dean of students, explains the delay to start activities at the institute with lack of budget as the only obstacle. When South Sudan parliament pass 2009 budget, John Garang Institute was not included but the Council of Ministers in Juba, is working on a possible supplementary budget prepared by Prof. Agrey Ayuen, the dean said. Jonglei State is also considering releasing some fund in loan "as in this proposed semester expenses," he said asking one student to read loudly a sheet of paper addressed to Deputy Governor Hussein Mar Nyuot. However, the students insisted that the government have a lower commitment while dealing with institute budget "because they don't know much we are sufferingC*..without studies." "What we need is to study. There is nothing greater than this," another student stressed. But big question marks remain as to why the Institute budget was eliminated by South Sudan parliament and why is the Council of Ministers in Juba taking long to reach a 'comfortable amount' to support the Institute? (ST)

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Publication:Sudan Tribune (Sudan)
Date:Apr 18, 2009
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