Dr. John Garang University suspends 2020-2021 academic year


BOR – 7 SEP 2020

Dr. John Garang University suspends 2020-2021 academic year

The administration of Dr. John Garang Memorial University of Science and Technology has announced the suspension of its 2020-2021 academic year over the COVID-19 pandemic.

Speaking to Radio Tamazuj last week, Prof. Wani Lado Worja, the university’s deputy vice-chancellor, said the university will reopen in March next year because the institution is not able to meet the COVID-19 safety measures.

In April, South Sudan closed all learning institutions and banned all public gatherings as part of measures to curb the spread of COVID-19 after the country recorded its first case.

“Last week, we received a letter from the higher education ministry seeking our consent, if we want to remain closed or reopen with strict adherence to COVID-19 measures. So, in our senate meeting, it was decided that we suspend this academic year to allow us time to prepare so that we meet the health guidelines,” Wani explained.

Wani further said despite the pandemic, the ongoing floods also hamper the reopening of the institution.

“Now, we are building more lectures halls and dormitories. With COVID-19, our existing halls are insufficient. Again, in Jonglei, there are movement restrictions because of floods, and we have not received food for students,” he added.

Wani urged the students to be patient as the university prepares to reopen.

However, the university’s students expressed mixed reactions to the directive.

“The university decision is not good. Before COVID-19, these challenges they are raising already existed. If the reason is COVID-19, they could have reopened for the finalists. As school remains closed nothing will keep us engaged, and this will leave us idle to join inter-tribal fighting,” said Mach Ayuen, a student at the university.

The student’s union information secretary Malual Abot welcomed the suspension but urged the university administration to make necessary arrangements for the reopening of the university in 2021.

A civil society activist in Bor, Daniel Deng Anyang, also welcomed the suspension and called on the administration to refocus the academic year budget towards improving the welfare of students ahead of a planned resumption next year.    

Meanwhile, Prof. Peter Adwok Nyaba, the former minister for higher education, urged the relevant government institutions to adopt an effective policy on COVID-19 before the universities reopen.

“We do not have clear information on COVID-19. It will be dangerous for students to go back to school now. There should be a policy on testing and quarantining.  As a country, we have lessons to learn from this pandemic because it has affected every aspect of society,” he said.

Based in Jonglei State capital, Bor, the Dr. John Garang University, is one of the five public universities in the country.

The other higher learning institutions are the Juba University, Upper Nile University, Bahr el Ghazal University, and Rumbek University.