Desperate times call for desperate measures

Rudi Bowe

Due to non-action desperate times call for desperate measures as the members of the National African Student Association (NASA) held peaceful demonstrations on 27 October 2020 across the country to highlight the financial plight of local students.

According to NASA the mission of the Ministry of Higher Education, Training and Innovation (MoHETI) is to pro-vide accessible, equitable and inclusive quality education for a tolerant skilled, productive and competitive nation, to promote and preserve arts and culture for nationhood and unity in diversity. This is achieved from pre-education to tertiary education.
The student Association said “In contrast to this, the Namibian Student Financial Assistance Fund(NSFAF) has adopted a policy in July 2019 which is diverting from NSFAF Act Mandate which is to find all students that are studying at recognized higher learning institution and doing a course which is Namibia Qualification Authority (NQA).”
“However, the policy discriminates, divide and favor some students and institution as result many students are rejected and end up struggling to pay for their studies. Students are not happy with how the Fund is being man-aged and miss expropriated by NSFAF administration as many corruption practices are being reported, as a result money meant to fund needy students is used for self-enrichment through corruption” The student Association said.
The students claim that the awarding decision of NSFAF does not affect first year students only, instead, it is affecting all year groups. This is because since 2016, there have been hiccups in fun-ding students, which left many still owing the university, including those who have already graduated, whose qualifications are being withheld by University of Namibia and they cannot secure jobs. This has perplexed the students when they think of what will happen to those who are still in grades 11 and 12.
The Erongo region branch of NASA in Walvis Bay they hand over a petition to the Walvis Bay Urban Constituency office. The petition is intended for the MoHETI, the Ministry of Finance (MoF) and NSFAF.
The Secretary General of National African Student Association (NASA) in Erongo region Japan Jason who read the petition on behalf of all the NASA members said that the promising future generation and human capital development of the Namibian child is at stake. We are in agony and fear that our voices and concerns have for long been abysmally ignored, we are desperate.
According to Jason, Over the course of the year, various student leadership organs have engaged and submitted various Complains to NSFAF, MoHETI, and MoF on outstanding student fees (Tuition and Non-Tuition) for 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020 respectively and little has been actioned hitherto.
Jason said “The situation has gone out of hand and today we are not sure whether NSFAF will be able to fund students who will be in their first year for the 2021 academic year, as the MoHETI and MoF continues to allocate inadequate funding to NSFAF year after year.
“We as NASA member, therefore, carry out this protest called “Equal student funding protest” to address the unsolved student’s issues and we demand that NSFAF, MoHETI and MoF give us the students a positive response to our demands.”
The students stated that the protest will only end if their demands are met and responded to. If not, they will continue protesting at NSFAF headquarters.
The demands are the full payment and settlements student’s non-tuitions fees of 2017,2018, 2019 and 2020. The full settlement of Financial Aid to Namibian students abroad and funding for Postgraduate students as well as the abolishment of predetermine rate funding.
The withdrawal of the draft NSFAF discriminatory funding policy that has been amended to disadvantage poor students, reactivate funding for all Articulating Students and give contracts to all rejected level 5 Students as well as equal non-Tuition fees for all TVET funded students and non-Tuition Fees for boarding students.
The advertisement of CEO Position of NSFAF, NTA, WVTC, NIMT, NUST and NCSRT, the immediate removal of the Acting CEO Mr. Kennedy Kandume and the re-establish NSFAF regional Offices back to each region.
Walvis Bay Urban Constituency Councillor Knowledge Ipinge received the petition and promised the students to for-ward it to the relevant authorities.

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