UoJ students divided over varsity fees increments

UoJ students divided over varsity fees increments
Prof. John Akec, Vice Chancellor University of Juba. [Photo: courtesy]

The recent decision by the administration of the University of Juba to hike school fees has elicited mixed opinions among the students.

The university senate met last month and revised the fees, adding $100 for development.

The increase means that students on the arts faculty will have to pay $200 (around SSP120,000), up from $100 (around SSP60,000).

Addressing the media last week, the Vice Chancellor of the University of Juba, Prof. John Akec, defended the increment, saying the money would be pivotal in plugging the shortage in the development kitty after receiving some funds from the national government.

“The fees are extremely low. “Students paid as little as $100 as per the last two years (fee structure, but) now we are increasing the fees…where an average student will pay something like $200 (SSP 120,000) to $300 (SSP 180,000) or about $400 (SSP 240,000),’’ he said, adding that the development fee of $100 still stood.

Akec said at the moment, the university could only pay salaries but not construct any facilities, hence the need for development fees.  

Mixed views

For students like Mary Abiong Nyok, the increased amount is within the manageable limit and will definitely serve the noble purpose of uplifting the facilities.

“We will try our best with our parents to pay the fees.  “These fee increases will help the university modernise the library, increase the number of lecture halls, and we will have a conducive learning environment,” Nyok argues.

She said that most students suffer due to limited space for revision because of the growing population on campus. Besides this, Nyok argues that the university needs to match its academic peers and conform to world standards.

“It may be difficult for some students to raise the fees but the best thing is to pay half in the first semester and complete it in the second semester. “I also ask our communities to help some of the students who may not be able to pay the entire fee,” she said.

However, another student in Gamber, Michael, said this move would discourage many learners who cannot raise the money.  

“Life was very hard to even when we were paying $100, raising it was hard, but it is now $300 and above, so most of us who support ourselves may leave school,” said Gamber, who is a part-time hawker in Juba.

“I pay rent for myself, which is about SSP20,000, for food, I even need more than SSP100,000, and now my school fee is more than SSP500,000…how will I get all this money?” he complained.

The university held a fundraising drive last week to raise money to fund the construction of Custom Campus at a cost of $3 million