Parliamentary enquiry launched into SPLM-IO exam suspension
A parliamentary delegation has launched an enquiry into the recent decision of the Education Ministry to suspend national exams in a number of areas controlled by the SPLM-IO.
Led by Bor Gatwech Kuany, Chief Whip, and Ahmed Must, Chairman of the Committee of Education, a meeting was held last Friday in Juba to question education officials on their reasoning and justification for suspending examinations.
As relayed to press following the meeting, the main points of enquiry were to ascertain why exams are suspended, how many centres and students are to be affected, and whether the decision has been discussed by the Council of Ministers and the SPLM-IO leadership in Juba.
Speaking on behalf of the Ministry of Education, Awut Deng told the delegation that a number of exam centres had experienced harassment and intimidation by individuals claiming to be SPLM-IO officials, forcing them to close.
Deng added that a lack of government protection had given the ministry no other choice in these areas.
In particular, the Minister told the delegation of an incident in Nyirol where SPLM-IO officials arrested education officials and confiscated money, alleging that the Ministry of Education did not have the authority to operate in the region.
When she raised the issues with Dr Machar, Deng said that he claimed the only way to stop such incidents was to proceed with the RTGONU to allow full government control across South Sudan.
After a length exchange between the delegation and the Ministry, it was agreed that exams could proceed if national security forces were able to give extra protection to students and examiners.
If this is not possible, the Ministry also agreed to allow students to sit exams in agreed safe areas under full government control. Failing both, the Ministry have stated their preparedness to write new exams to be sat at a later date by students.
Concluding the meeting, it was agreed that a number of urgent meetings would be convened with local, state and national SPLM-IO leadership to discuss ways forward.