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Meet South Sudanese academic who rose to the top in Uganda

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Despite years of war and violence in South Sudan, several men and women in Africa’s youngest nation have been able to rise above their conditions and leave a mark in one way or the other.

The story and success of South Sudan’s David Fugoyo who became one of the most sought-after academics in Uganda are worth highlighting.

To Dr. David Fugoyo, education is the key to success.

He said education should be made a top priority in the South Sudanese post-war period. “I want to tell my fellow South Sudanese that it is time to prioritize education. We are in East Africa, but our level of education is weak compared to other countries like Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, Burundi, etc,” said Fugoyo.

He added, “This is the time for anyone to complete his or her education through opportunities offered by universities. We must embark on education in order to compete regionally and also develop our country”.

The South Sudanese national, currently the Vice Chancellor for Africa Renewal University in Uganda, urged fellow citizens not to only seek political positions, saying a lot is gained in life through education.

“I want to assure you South Sudan is still a virgin country. There are so many undiscovered opportunities. The country was at war, so it is time to wake up and explore more chances through education,” Fugoyo told Radio Tamazuj in Kampala.

Being at the helm of the higher learning institution in Uganda, Fugoyo said he succeeded in convincing the university administration to allow South Sudanese to pay their tuition fees in Ugandan Shillings, which increased their enrolment into the institution.

He also initiated bursary scheme, which saw tuition fees for South Sudanese nationals at the university reduced by over 70 percent.

According to Dr. Fugoyo, upon assuming the Vice Chancellorship at the university, he went to the United States to lobby for funds meant for South Sudanese students at the verge of dropping out due to lack of support.

Under the guise of developing the capacities of church leaders across South Sudan, the South Sudanese academic managed to receive funds, which enabled him to bring over 200 students from different church denominations to join the university.

 To date, he proudly says, 150 of these students have graduated without paying money and the last batch will graduate by the middle of the year.

Fugoyo is optimistic that his university will continue supporting South Sudanese students through the scholarship programme he has initiated.

Currently, he said, the Kampala-based university offers both undergraduate and master’s programmes in various fields. The undergraduate courses include Theology, Social Work and Social Administration, Public Health, Disability Studies and Special Education, Community Development, Education, Information Technology, Journalism and Business Studies, while master’s programmes are in Theological Studies, Business Administration, among others.

“Students taking master’s programmes may only attend classes for two weeks per month and that’s from January, May and August yearly for two years. That means the full courses will take a student at least 12 weeks to complete master’s degree coursework,” he explained.

A holder of bachelor’s degree from Nile Theological College in Sudan, Fugoyo later proceeded to do his master’s degree in Divinity from Evangelical Graduate School of Theology in Nairobi, Kenya and his PhD from Africa International University in 2014.

Dr. Fugoyo has been leading Africa Renewal University in Uganda since 2015.

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