Universities and schools

Journalism education in South Sudan has been heavily affected by the ongoing conflict. Juba University remains the only university that has seemingly maintained consistency through the conflict. There have been minimal shutdowns following clashes amongst the student body, (protests and infighting, mostly caused by the ethnic-motivated conflicts in the country). The university was established in 1975 and offers courses including Mass Communication and Development Communication. The training provided lacks practical elements and is based more on theory. Graduation rates are significantly lower than enrollment. The challenging work environment, with episodes of harassment, intimidation and imprisonment of journalists by the government and other authorities, has discouraged the progression into journalism careers. However, there has been a number of graduates who succeeded in entering the profession, working for both local and international press. Juba University, much like the other 26 registered public universities in the country, lacks both didactic material and lecturers, a scarcity which is exacerbated by the deepening economic crisis. The economic turmoil in the country has had a serious impact on the ability to hire and retain lecturers. As a result, the faculty to student ratio is abysmally low. Students outnumber teachers with a ratio of up to 50 to one.

South Sudan’s minimal Internet infrastructure and the scarcity of instructors have hampered the ability to offer online courses. Also, with independence, the country switched the official language of instruction from Arabic to English, with a direct impact on knowledge delivery and learning. The majority of instructors, who were trained in the Khartoum system which is primarily Arabic-based, have had to switch their mode of training to English. Many faculty members have since had to take up English as a new language of instruction, which has severely impacted the delivery of knowledge. The change of curriculum, the language transition and the conflict are the main reasons behind the low rates of enrollment into university, with the consequence that matriculations and graduations have drastically reduced.