WINDHOEK- A New Era investigation has discovered some Namibian students enrolled at some universities in China despite attaining less than 10 points are currently studying medicine in China with an admission of less than 10 points – which is way below the minimum precribed 35 entry point.
Some of the students who enrolled for medicine attained low symbols such as G, which translates into one point, F which translates into two points and E which translates into three points, according to evidence seen by New Era.
New Era has seen a number of declined application forms of students who went to study medicine on their own in China, but now want funding from the Namibia Student Financial Assistance Fund (NSFAF) whose policy says it should only fund students who wish to study abroad with a minimum 35 points.
Among the declined application forms are students who obtained their grade 12 certificates under the current Cambridge and Standard 10 (Matric) under the former South African Cape education system.
Most of the students who are studying medicine at universities in China cannot afford to fund their own education could face deportation if the government does not come to their rescue by the end of September.
Most of the affected students now want government to come to their rescue through NSFAF and only have points ranging from 6 to 24, way below the 35 points and were declined entry at the University of Namibia (Unam) where the minimum entry point is 25 points in six subjects. Many of those who failed to make the grade for Unam are studying medicine at the Liaoning Medical University in the People’s Republic of China.
When New Era contacted NSFAF on the shocking entry point for Namibian students studying medicine in China, Fillemon Wise Immanuel, the NSFAF spokesman, also revealed last year NSFAF with a team from the Health Professions Council visited Chinese medical universities, accepting Namibians students with low entry points.
“The team submitted a comprehensive report. Some of the findings were that most students studying in China were found to have way too low points from grade 12 ranging from 6, 7, 18, 19 and 24. This is way too low for NSFAF to provide financial assistance.
“The fact that there are students with 15 or 20 points admitted at foreign institutions to do some highly specialised courses such as medicine, the fund took a decision as a safe guarding intervention, that only students who have done exceptionally well with 35 points and above in grade 12 will be funded by NSFAF,” Immanuel explained.
It was also found the fact most Chinese universities teach Chinese medicine and by way of comparing their curriculum with the Namibian course as administered by Health Professions Council, causes a disconnection.
He said students studying abroad should be “pigeonholed because there are those that would not have met the requirements even if the 35 points requirements was not a decision. And conversely they are those who have extremely under-performed in their final grade 12 exams but want to be funded nevertheless.”
When asked what would happen if a student has 25 points and is not admitted at the local institutions, he said, “this sounds too hypothetic, I do not think the carrying capacities at local tertiary institutions have yet reached a saturated state. The evidence to date, is to the effect that local institutions are for all intent and purposes having space for all aspiring students who have met the entry and admission requirements.”
However, he noted there might be few cases, especially in the specialised fields of study, for instance Medicine and Engineering, where space may be limited.
He elaborated this would not make any difference because in most instances, the requirements for these courses at local institutions is 35 points, similar to NSFAF’s decision not pay for students with less than 35 points studying abroad.
“The decision concerned is patriotic, forwarding-looking and is taken in good faith. It also aims at boosting the intake of the domestic training houses (institutions), and in the process strengthen their revenue bases for the wellbeing of the collective Namibian Nation,” Immanuel assured other Namibians.
He, however, said not all students in China have points that fall way below the requirement because there are those that have met the NSFAF cut-off point.
He called on the public and all stakeholders that due diligence should be done in terms of types of institutions and the quality of training programmes before students are sent to foreign institutions of higher learning.
Asked whether the fund will pay for medical students in China in future, he said such a decision would be informed by the outcome of the ongoing assessment of the curriculum done by the Health Professions Council on some of the medical universities in China.
Courtesy The New Era