During the press conference held in Kampala on September 11, 2023, Simon Juach Deng, South Sudan’s Ambassador to Uganda, revealed that the Ugandan government has exempted South Sudanese students from paying student pass fees.
Deng emphasised that the relinquishment was granted by the government of Uganda to honor the EAC protocol on the establishment of the East African Community Common Market (free movement of persons) Regulations 8, which states that a citizen admitted as a student in a partner state will be issued a student pass without a fee.
“Bringing into line the principles of unity within the East African Community, South Sudanese students in Uganda were classified as international students; however, this change in policy reflects the commitment of both nations to adhere to the East African Community Common Market’s regulations regarding free movement of persons,” Deng said.
Deng called upon all educational institutions to acknowledge this new policy and cease demanding that South Sudanese nationals studying in Uganda pay student pass fees. It is reported that these students were previously required to pay an annual pass fee of UGX 336,000.
Lual Akol Nhial, the education diplomat at the South Sudan embassy, highlighted the challenges posed by student pass fees to South Sudanese learners. He noted that students studying in other countries faced difficulties because their passports lacked evidence of a visa to Uganda, potentially rendering their education abroad illegitimate.
He noted that the removal of student pass fees marks a significant development in strengthening bilateral relations between Uganda and South Sudan. It not only benefits existing students but also encourages others to pursue education in Uganda.