Lockdown at NUST over University Fees

January 21, 2016, 9:10am


Photo: Immanuel Hafeni, NUST student

Students have staged a lockdown at the Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST) and are demanding that registration fees be abolished.

Protesters are carrying 'Fees must Fall' posters and are chanting, "Down fees down. Down Tivikua Down. United we stand, divided we fall."

More than 250 students are at the protest, comprising of mostly NUST students, however there are also students from other Universities in the area. The protesters say that are waiting for the Minister of Higher Education.

SRC President and Spokesperson, Oscar Mwandingi explained that at a meeting last week with the Vice Channellor of the University, Dr. Tjama Tivikua, the VC said that  fees would be reduced. According to students, who are protesting for fees to be abolished, the VC did not say anything to the students at the protest this morning.

Mwandingi also said that he received a call from the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Higher Education, Alfred van Kent and was asked to come to the Ministry to negotiate this morning. However, Mwandingi refused to go and asked that the Minister come to the University grounds to speak to all the students on the matter.

PS van Kent said that he could not speak on behalf of the Minister.

Immanuel Hafeni, a third year HR student said that he was supposed to write a supplementary subject this morning, but it has been postponed because of the protest. Activities at the University have been halted because of the protest.

All roads leading to the campus main gates have been closed and guarded by police.

 

UPDATE: 14:00

 

Tjivikua arrived to the front gate of the campus on foot, and he told the students that he wants a meeting with the SRC, but the students refused.
"We are aware of the fact that you [Tjivikua] did not get a deal with the minister. Nothing has been discussed. Highlight what you [Tjivikua] discussed with the minister," a student said, however did not want to be named. 

The protesters had lunch at the front gate.

UPDATE: 16:00

Tjivikua told the students that nobody will pay registration fees, whether they have the means to or not and that all debts, whether it was from last year or this year have been ridden off for all students at NUST.

Vice Chancellor Tjivikua and three SRC members then went into a meeting to draft and sign an agreement.

The others student protesters have tabled a proposal in which that supplementary exams that would have been written today should be written on Monday. They also want to propose a modality on how debts will be written off.

They have demanded that representatives from the Ministry of Higher Education, the Namibian National Student Organisation, the SRC, and from NUST must all sign the agreement.