26 Jan 2016 20:10pm
WINDHOEK, 26 JAN (NAMPA) - Students at the University of Namibia (UNAM) Tuesday staged a demonstration at the main campus in Windhoek to have their registration fees waived, despite the fact that those fees were decreased for the 2016 academic year.
In an interview with Nampa during the demonstration, the Namibia National Students Organisation (NANSO) chairperson at the UNAM branch, Mathews Taapopi said the students want to register for free for the 2016 academic year and they want their debt cleared.
Furthermore, UNAM students pleaded for a state of emergency to be declared towards tertiary education.
The students blocked the entrance to the university from 07h00 and prevented staff members and students from entering premises until their grievances are met.
The UNAM student protest follows a demonstration by students of the Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST) on Thursday.
NUST students said the registration fee payable at the beginning of every academic year is exorbitant and forces them to abandon their studies as many cannot afford to pay the fee.
It was then announced that students would be allowed to register irrespective of whether they can afford to pay the N.dollars 3 500 registration fee upfront or not.
NUST Vice-Chancellor Tjama Tjivikua on Monday however told Nampa there appears to be a misconception amongst students that the registration fee has been scrapped. He said students will in fact be obliged to pay the registration fee before June this year. Until it is settled, it will reflect as outstanding debt on their student accounts.
In a media release issued early this year, UNAM was mandated by the Ministry of Higher Education, Training and Innovation to increase tuition fees for the 2015/16 academic year by 7.5 per cent.
UNAM Pro-Vice Chancellor for Administration and Finance, Ellen Namhila said the UNAM Council as per consultative meetings held by the institution and the Student Representative Council (SRC) approved the increments.
However the registration fees have decreased from N.dollars 6 000 to N.dollars 3 550 for Namibian students, which is effective as from 11 January 2016, according to the statement.
This is to ensure that students who may need to settle current outstanding fees can afford registration fees at the beginning of this year, and all outstanding fees that are owed to the institution by the students must be settled by the end of July this year, said Namhila.
UNAM has increased tuition fees in the previous 2014/15 academic year by 10 per cent.