UNAM reluctant on Government directive: NANSO

27 Jan 2016 19:00pm
WINDHOEK, 27 JAN (NAMPA) – The University of Namibia (UNAM) appears reluctant to adhere to a directive from Government to allow students to register for the 2016 academic year without having to pay a registration fee and to have their debt cleared.
This is according a statement availed to Nampa on Monday by the Namibia National Students Organisation (NANSO).
In a letter seen by this new agency, the Permanent Secretary (PS) in the Ministry of Higher Education, Training and Innovation, Albert van Kent directed UNAM to let students register for free and have their outstanding debt cleared.
The letter was issued to UNAM on 22 January 2016 and UNAM Public Relations Officer, Johannes Haufiku read this letter to NAMPA but refused to provide the agency with a copy of the letter.
In the NANSO statement, the student organization alleged that the current turmoil on registration fees and lockdown of tertiary education institutions by protesting students has been brought upon by a “delay and ignorance” on the part of UNAM management.
“We have been vigilant of UNAM, institutional managers and agents, who are reluctant to adhere to the directive and are plotting to delay the call from the higher education office,” said the statement.
NANSO further called on students and “progressive student bodies” to trudge towards embarking on a nationwide mass demonstration and lockdown of tertiary institutions against the 7.5 per cent tuition fee increment for the 2016 academic year.
“We will ensure that our actions are accelerated and our movement be felt by the echelons of power, and this is a call for aggressive mass mobilization rather than vandalism of our institution,” read the statement.
On Tuesday, NANSO dragged UNAM to court, seeking a court approval to proceed with their campaign for a varsity lockdown at the UNAM Main Campus, in Windhoek.
However, following a four-hour hearing, Judge Shafimana Uietele ruled in favour of UNAM and ordered NANSO President, Wilhelm Wilhelm and NANSO Secretary-General Dimbulukeni Nauyoma to end the “unlawful” and “un-procedural” protest.
Tertiary students in Namibia have over the past two weeks been causing quite a stir regarding registration fees and tuition increments.
Students from the Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST) “locked down” access to that institution last week Thursday, demanding the “abolishment” of registration fees and their debts to be cleared as directed by the Ministry of Higher Education, Training and Innovation, in a letter dated, 22 January 2016.
The students claimed that they are forced to seek jobs against their wish of pursuing an education, due to the “exorbitant” fees charged by NUST.
With the recent increments, a first-year Computer Studies student at NUST will be expected to fork out N.dollars 75 739 per year, which would include meals and the cheapest hostel accommodation - a double room at N.dollars 13 580 per year. Tuition will cost about N.dollars 33 600.
NUST Vice-Chancellor, Tjama Tjivikua responded reckoning that if students register for free and have their debts cleared, such action will cripple the institution and affect the quality of the education sector in Namibia.
“The students will not be committed to their studies, simply because they have nothing to lose even if they do not pass, and other than that, we cannot just afford that as an institution because if a two-thirds of my salary come from that money, how will the institution survive?” asked Tjivikua.