January 19, 2018, Nearly 105 South Sudanese students studying in Zimbabwe on government scholarships will return home after the government cancelled their scholarships abruptly over unpaid arrears.
According to a document obtained by Radio Tamazuj, South Sudan’s cabinet in its sitting on 5 January, directed the finance minister to settle students’ financial claims immediately, and further said the students will be brought back home except those who will be graduating in September 2018.
The government pointed out that the students will be admitted to continue their studies in appropriate public universities in South Sudan.
The national ministry of higher education asked the embassy’s education and cultural attaché Atem Kuir Jok to send the list of the students as soon as possible. According to the document, the minister of finance will provide the tickets to the students.
Ajal Bol Gai, a students’ representative, said they have received a letter informing them that government scholarships they previously were expecting will not be available. “We have been informed that we will be transported back to South Sudan. We are from five universities. The government said those who are graduating in September will continue with their studies,” he said.
“Honestly, we are not going back home. Where should we go? We will look for other opportunities here. People are suffering in South Sudan and no money. There is no good education in the country, so we are not going back to South Sudan because we want to continue our education here,” he added.
“We informed the ambassador during our meeting that we are not going back to South Sudan until we obtain our papers.”
Ajal pointed out that they are still living inside the embassy to demand the South Sudanese government to pay them tuition fees and living expenses.
He urged the government of South Sudan to sign agreements with the government of Zimbabwe instead of returning them back to Juba.