University of Khartoum

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A Sudanese institution established in 1902.

Horatio Herbert Kitchener, Lord Kitchener of Khartoum, established the Gordon Memorial College in the memory of the British general Charles George Gordon, who died at Khartoum in 1885, to establish a formal seat of learning in the Sudan. Kitchener opened the college on 8 November 1902. During the first half of the twentieth century, Gordon Memorial College was transformed from a secondary school to a college with a more sophisticated curriculum and a more renowned faculty. Most graduates during these years became civil servants in the British administration of the Sudan.

Its function as a vocational training institute was substantively changed when the college was affiliated with London University in 1945 to grant equivalent degrees; in 1951 the Gordon Memorial College and Kitchener School of Medicine were combined to create the University College of Khartoum. Upon Sudan's independence in 1956 the University College abandoned its connections with the University of London to become the University of Khartoum. Since then it has expanded to include numerous research institutes and a variety of schools.

As the campus lies in the heart of Khartoum, the university's faculty, staff, and particularly its students have played a significant role in the political life of Sudan. Its graduates organized and led the Graduates' General Congress in 1938, which played a dynamic role in the evolution of Sudanese nationalism and in Sudan's governments after independence. After the coup d'état of 30 June 1989 by Umar Hasan Ahmad al-Bashir, the National Islamic Front (NIF) government reoriented the university's curriculum and purged the Western-educated Sudanese and expatriate faculty, replacing them with instructors more suitable to the NIF's Islamist ideology. At the same time the government launched a dramatic expansion of the university, so that in 2002 there were 17,000 undergraduates, 6,000 graduate students, and an academic staff of more than 1,000.


Beshir, Mohamed Omer. Educational Development in the Sudan, 18981956. Oxford, U.K.: Clarendon Press, 1969.

robert o. collins

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University of Khartoum

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University of Khartoum