Sudanese Universities: What Future Awaits Amidst Continued Conflict?



Wed, 13 Sep 2023 - 12:44 GMT


Wed, 13 Sep 2023 - 12:44 GMT

Clashes in Sudan - Reuters

Clashes in Sudan - Reuters

CAIRO - 13 September 2023: The educational process in Sudan has been grappling with severe challenges for several years. The situation has been exacerbated in recent months due to the conflict between the Rapid Support Forces and the Sudanese Army, turning Khartoum and its suburbs into hazardous areas to live and study.

The Security Quandary: In light of these circumstances, educational authorities decided to postpone studies in both governmental and private universities until the middle of the following month, in hopes that the conflict will come to a halt.

Walid Mustafa, the director of Dongola University, stated, "Sudanese universities, including Dongola University, have been significantly impacted by the ongoing conflict since mid-April in Khartoum." Plans had been made to reopen the university in August.

However, due to the prevailing circumstances, the Sudanese Minister of Higher Education has postponed the reopening of all universities until October. This decision was largely influenced by the difficulty students face in reaching universities, coupled with the inability of many families to provide for their children due to a halt in employment, sources of income, and salaries.

Adding to the challenge, many universities, especially those in Khartoum, which is at the heart of the conflict, enroll students from all over Sudan. The journey to the universities is not only complicated but also dangerous. Moreover, student accommodations, typically within university campuses, are currently being used as shelters for families displaced from Khartoum.

Alternative Solutions: Mohammed Al-Nair, a professor at Sudan University of Science and Technology in Khartoum, believes the Minister of Higher Education could have suspended studies only in areas experiencing military operations, rather than halting academics in all governmental universities. He noted that more than 14 Sudanese states are free from military activities, and studies could resume in these states if some challenges are addressed.

One of the significant issues is the irregular payment of salaries to professors and employees. Another is finding alternative housing for families currently living in university cities. Al-Nair suggests that the latter could be addressed by seeking assistance from the governors of those states.

Accumulated Intake and the Road Ahead: The decision to postpone studies will undoubtedly impact the educational process due to the accumulation of student intakes. Mustafa mentioned, "We are looking for solutions to this issue, such as introducing shift systems to make up for the lost period." This measure will primarily cater to last year's students who could not complete their academic year.

In conclusion, while the future of Sudanese universities seems uncertain amidst the current turmoil, there is hope that with combined efforts and strategic decisions, the academic community can navigate these challenging times.



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