WINDHOEK, 21 JAN (NAMPA) -
Students from various tertiary institutions locked access gates to the Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST) main campus in the capital on Thursday.
The demonstration follows the increasing of tuition and registration fees by NUST, and the University of Namibia (UNAM). The students argued that fees charged for registration at NUST are too high, and some of them are forced to look for employment due to the 'inaccessibility' of tertiary education.
The current registration fees that NUST students want abolished is N.dollars 3 500, which is payable twice a year and amounts to N.dollars 7 000. The NUST Council approved new tuition fees in December 2015 for 2016. The fees increased by 7.5 per cent. UNAM increased tuition fees in the 2014/15 academic year by 10 per cent. The university was required by the Ministry of Higher Education, Training and Innovation to increase tuition fees for the 2015/16 academic year by 7.5 per cent.
Registration fees, however, decreased to N.dollars 3 550 from N.dollars 6 000. Registration at various institutions of higher learning started on 11 January 2016.
Secretary-General of the Namibia National Students Organisation (Nanso) Dimbulukeni Nauyoma said they are going to continue with the demonstration until their demands are met. "If they are smart enough they will talk to us, but if they want to test our patience then we will remain here until they hear our plea. We know where they chill, we know where they stay, and we also know the restaurants where they eat at, where our brothers guard them, whilst our mothers clean their houses," said Nauyoma.
He added that they want an abolishment of registration fees, and a reduction of the tuition fees at NUST and UNAM. Nodding in agreement was Student Representative Council (SRC) president of the College of the Arts (COTA) Elago Shitaatala, who fumed at the 'sickening' registration fees at NUST and UNAM, arguing that parents are forced to auction their properties in order to fund their children's education.
COTA students are taking part in the demonstration in solidarity with NUST and UNAM students. "I would like to finish my studies here at NUST one day but I will rather sit at home, because these fees are too high. The country is experiencing an economic crisis, but who is not. Obviously that means that our parents are also affected, but it seems like they are paying for the downfall of the country's economy," said Shitaatala.
She said that they plan on visiting other tertiary institutions to engage in similar demonstrations in a bid to 'nationalise' their concerns to get their demands heard and implemented.
"This is not just about us, but this is about those who will come after us. Obviously I will have children one day, who will pay for their fees if I remain idle?" she wanted to know. (NAMPA) KK/LP/ND/AS