Ministry sets up emergency committee to support HE sector
These measures were mooted at the first meeting of an emergency committee set up by the ministry at the beginning of July.
In addition to listing the higher education institutions affected by the fighting between the Sudanese Armed Forces and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) since 15 April and examining the extent of the damage [to institutions] alongside the necessity to continue higher education, the committee called for support to higher education institutions so they can try to normalise university life.
It also called for an evaluation of the working conditions of university staff, as well as measuring the impact of the war on students – and to support them.
The committee called for documenting the best teaching, examination and community service practices at Sudanese universities during the armed conflict for other universities to learn from.
The committee has also looked at the payment of salaries of workers at higher education institutions by the ministry of finance and the Bank of Sudan and at finding a solution to transfer salaries to higher education institutions outside the capital, Khartoum, due to the disruption of the banking system.
The committee will also look at how it can support processes related to postgraduate degree documentation, transcripts and the issuing of registration certificates to students, including through the opening of service points outside Khartoum and at Sudanese embassies abroad.
The ministry has also issued a statement to warn students against studying at foreign universities that are not recognised by the ministry.
The higher education community, as a part of civil society, continues to report on the deaths of and injuries to students and staff.
On 6 July the Sudanese Doctors’ Syndicate released the names of 24 doctors, health workers, and staff and students of medical faculties who have died in various parts of Sudan since the start of the war.
The majority were killed in the exchange of fire between the warring parties, or mortar attacks which either damaged their houses or hit them on their way to work.
The Association of Sudanese Professors at Universities, Faculties and Higher Institutions (ASPUFHI) issued a statement earlier in July stating that Dr Muhammad Jalal Hashem, a professor at the faculty of education on Khartoum University and a member of the ASPUFHI council, was hit by a stray shell in the Kalakla area. As a result, his leg had to be amputated.
The anti-war effort
Besides the Civilian Front for Ending the War and Restoring Democracy, which consists of 35 pro-democracy organisations, including several bodies representing Sudanese universities, their academics, graduates and students, a new academic anti-war front called the Trade Unions Front to Stop the War and Build Democracy, or TUFSWBD, was formed.
TUFSWBD is led by teaching staff groups at the University of Nyala and the University of Alzaiem Alazhari as well as Sudanese journalists and Sudanese doctors.
The group called for “the armed forces … to withdraw to their barracks, the dissolution of the RSF and all other parallel armies and militias, and the formation of one national army based on a national doctrine, while adopting and applying the necessary reforms in the process”.
It also called for an investigation into crime and human rights violations committed before and after the start of the war and for perpetrators to face national and international justice.
TUFSWBD stressed the urgency of tackling the economic and social collapse of Sudan, including providing health and education services and rebuilding the country. It also denounced “all of forms of racial, territorial and regional discrimination”.