By Nicolas Deng Mawien.
April 22, 2017(Nyamilepedia) —— I have been taking the back seat in discussing state of affairs in South Sudan. It has not been my interest to join political vendors to discuss how they hunt and smother their preys, not because I do not hear their unsubstantiated rumour mongering but talking without facts hasn’t been one of my greatest strengths. This cool reservation has been shattered a day before when I came across an article circulating in hotels, restaurants and even on streets of Juba questioning the educational credentials of Mr. Mayik Ayi Deng, the current Minister in the office of the President. Martin Luther King Jr. once said that “there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must take it because conscience tells him it is right.” And therefore I am consciously obliged to dishonor my own principle and comment on this particular topic.
First, I am not going to put a meat on dry bones but I will explain part of Mayik Ayi’s education history. The rest of political witch-hunts in that article are not points of my concerns as of now. When Mayik left Sudan for United States, he was in his 3rd year in high school and upon arrival in USA; he joined St. Vincent High School in North Carolina where he completed his O-level before proceeding to Loras University College in Iowa. He graduated in 1996 with BA in Political Science, and another BA in Philosophy in 2001.
As a liberal arts college, Loras College (LC) was founded way back in 1839 by the Catholic Church. it is Iowa’s oldest college and the second oldest Catholic college west of the Mississippi, 177 years strong; ranked number 13 out of 364 Midwest Regional Colleges for academic quality by US News and World Report; ranked in the top 5 for graduation rates in the same US News listing; the 1st college in the nation to receive the President’s Interfaith Community Service Award. It is also rated as the number 2 Best Value College/University by Cappex, a 95.9% placement rate.
Apart from being one of the best rated schools nationally, Loras College produced prominent professionals across United States. Such outstanding statesmen and women include: Bill Bartmann (1972 LC graduate), current CEO of CFS2 and Nobel Peace Prize nominee for 2014; Pam Jochum (1992 LC graduate), became Iowa State Senator and first woman to hold the title of Senate President; Rod Blum (1977 LC graduate), current U.S. congressman from Iowa’s 1st District, 2015–present, and Javier Manzano (1998 LC graduate), a freelance photographer, who received the Public Photo Prize Award at the 20th edition of the Bayeux Calvados Awards held in Bayeux, France. In 2013, Manzano received the Pulitzer Prize for feature photography for his photo of two rebel soldiers guarding their sniper’s nest in Aleppo, Syria.
It is unbelievable that a person who attended such institution could be described by political vendors on street as “functional illiterate”. Functional illiteracy is defined as “reading and writing skills that are inadequate to manage daily living and employment tasks that require reading skills beyond a basic level”. This alone implies that even high school graduates are above the threshold of functional illiteracy.
The phrase “functional illiterate” therefore is a misplaced utterance designed to obstruct the attention and console egos of campaigners against Mayik Ayi. Their lack of understanding on Western Education perspective has misled them to challenge all those who contributed in Mayik Ayi’s educational journey. If such statements are to be extrapolated, it is quite obvious that even the professors who taught and conferred certificates onto Mayik Ayi are too functional illiterates – something that history and nature could testify against.
My final message to political positions hunters and all-time gossipers is that they should not also appear to be illiterates in their research to unearth undisputable facts about Mayik Ayi. If anyone still has a second thought, then that person should directly consult with Loras College’s Academics Department to find out whether Mayik Ayi had indeed attended and obtained Degrees in that school.
The author is a concerned citizen with knowledge of Mr. Mayik Ayii’s educational background. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
 www.loras.edu for more information.
 www.loras.edu for more information.