Committee faults exclusion of varsity infrastructure in proposed budget

Committee faults exclusion of varsity infrastructure in proposed budget

The parliamentary specialised committee on higher education critiqued the proposed budget for the financial year 2023-2024, saying that it excluded the allocations for public universities’ infrastructure.

Zakaria Makuer, chairperson of the specialised committee on higher education, lamented in an interview with The City Review on Thursday that the budget only focused on salary structure rather than crucial facilities.

“This year’s budget for higher education is only good at the level of salaries, but it really does not address the infrastructure of our institutions,” he said.

Makuer added that laboratories and apparatus for medical studies in the universities and expansions of classes have not been included in the budget.

However, in the financial year 2022–2023, the education sector was allocated over SSP 112 billion.

The money allocated was given to the ministry of general education and instruction, the ministry of higher education, science, and technology, the South Sudan national examination council, the research and development centre, and student support funds.

Meanwhile, this year, the specialised committee on higher education said the proposed budget for education was only SSP 69 billion.

“This is because of the new salary structure that was approved this year in February by the council of ministries.”

Last month, the Council of Ministers approved a bill for a Student Support Fund of SSP 105 million to help needy learners.

Makuer added that they will first have to wait to see if the SSP 105 million will make a difference.

The students’ support fund is meant for accommodation, feeding, healthcare, sanitation materials, tuition fees, and other necessities for the disadvantaged students of higher institutions.

Caguor Adong, a member of the specialised committee on higher education, said he is optimistic that the assembly will approve the SSP 105 billion student support fund.

“If this SSP 105 billion is released, it may change the situation, though the situation may not change at the level of general education,” he said.

“Some children come from poor backgrounds; they need to be accommodated and fed so that they can concentrate on their studies,” he added.