A body for academics in South Sudan wants to
promote research that contributes to the reduction of poverty, underpins evidence-based
policymaking and evaluates whether policies work, says its head, John Akec. The
Academics and Researchers Forum for Development (ARFD) held a conference on the
future of higher education in the capital, Juba, from 14 to 15 November. Speaking
from Juba, Akec, vice-chancellor of the newly established University of
Northern Bahr-El-Ghazel in South Sudan, said that South Sudan’s higher
education system needed to be fixed but that money was lacking. “The challenge
is how to open more colleges and universities when we do not have staff and
money,” he said. The 11-member ARFD would try to boost funding for science, he
added. He said that priority must be given to higher education to provide
social justice and attract the best academics in the region. “South Sudan
cannot afford progression into the future if it ignores science and technology.
We have to explore suitable funding models for students and research,” he said.
ARFD had ideas that could drive a fruitful generation and application of
knowledge and skills to solving the new nation’s social and economic problems,
Akec said. For instance, oil revenues could be used to boost funding for
universities and research. The November meeting also discussed the
establishment of a Council for Higher Education in South Sudan .
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