Unam reacts to Nantu accusations

06 Jun 2013 09:29

The University of Namibia today reacted to at a statement by the Namibia Teachers Union of Namibia (Nantu) on the issue of invigilation and the relocation of staff
 to Henties Bay.
Yesterday, Nantu's Secretary-General Basilius Haingura lashed out at the  management of Unam, claiming that it failed to adhere to the principles of a recognition agreement signed in 1995.
Haingura said the Unam management completely bypassed and ignored the unions in most matters pertaining to the conditions of service of its employees.
He said this amounts to a gross violation of their rights contained in the recognition agreement and the Labour Act, which regulates the employment environment in the country.
But today, Unam Director for Communications and Marketing, Edwin Tjiramba, explained that the common definition of invigilation is “keeping watch over examinations to prevent candidates from cheating and to ensure


In a statement, Tjiramba states: The position of the University remains that invigilation at Unam has been a core academic function performed by academic staff since
 its inception. However, the modalities of invigilation is what has been negotiated for the past five years. In this regard management
 cannot be accused of being unilateral in its decision to take the matter to Senate.
Senate also resolved to reduce the number of
 invigilation sessions per academic staff to three, and no examinations on Saturdays, and the fact that the last examination on each
 day ends no later than seven in the evening.
These were the main issues raised by the Unions.
It thus baffles UNAM that the Unions are
 now claiming that invigilation was never an academic function!

As a responsible institution what we do should always be in the interest of our students and the quality of education in terms of
 instruction and assessment. Students have repeatedly indicated that they demand better and firmer invigilation.
It is worth noting
 that nearly all academic staff across the eleven campuses take the responsibility of invigilating very seriously, and management

wishes to express its appreciation for their dedication.

Relocation of Staff to Henties Bay

At the onset of the establishment of the Faculty of Agriculture and Natural Resources, a principle decision was taken that the
 departments of Crop Science and Natural Resources would be relocated at a later stage from Neudamm to Ogongo campus in the
 north and this was implemented in 2000, while Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences department would relocate to the coast due to the

nature of the training.
With the establishment of the Sam Nujoma Marine and Coastal Resources Research Centre at Henties Bay it just
 makes sense that the department should be relocated to Henties Bay where facilities have been put in place.
The implementation
 of the relocation to Henties Bay was temporarily delayed due to a lack of resources and facilities.
Since then, the Government of
 the Republic of Namibia has generously availed resources towards the construction of state-of-the-art facilities including hostels for
 the students.

As is common practice at UNAM, the affected staff members and the Unions were part and parcel of the consultative process
 and the Unions did not raise any objections at the last meeting.
Further to this, the University acted in accordance with its Policy on
 Relocation and even provided the affected staff better terms than what is normally provided. Against this background, claims that
 the University bypassed them in these discussions and consultations are thus unfounded.

As a public institution, with eleven campuses nationwide, UNAM is required to remain true to its mandate of providing quality and
 equitable higher education on par excellence to the nation.
In this regard the University will endeavour to jealously guard its reputation
 and standing, and the administration of quality examinations is one of its core functions.

Worldwide, Namibia is hailed enviously for its rich and diverse marine ecosystem. The plans to relocate our Fisheries and Aquatic
 Sciences Department to Henties Bay are meant to ensure that our students and staff benefit from this in terms of instruction and hands
 on research.
The Sam Nujoma Marine and Coastal Resources Research Centre is also an affiliate Centre of Excellence of the United
 Nations University Institute of Natural Resources in Africa based in Accra, Ghana.