27 Jan 2016 19:10pm
WINDHOEK, 27 JAN (NAMPA) - The University of Namibia (UNAM) has refuted claims levelled against it by the Namibia National Students Organisation (NANSO) that it is reluctant to register students who are unable to afford its registration fee.
NANSO on Monday issued a media statement accusing UNAM of being unwilling to adhere to a directive issued by the Ministry of Higher Education, Training and Innovation on 22 January 2016 that UNAM should allow students to register for free and clear their outstanding debt.
UNAM asserts that the directive is not clear on the payment of registration fees.
Speaking to Nampa on Tuesday, UNAM spokesperson, John Haufiku claimed that the letter does not specify which students at the institution should register for free.
We have asked the ministry for clarity. The letter said in principle we should register students for free, but which students are we talking about? Postgraduate students, undergraduate students, Namibian students, international students, or all students? The letter only said students, said Haufiku.
He further indicated that the institution has issued a response to the Ministry of Higher Education, Training and Innovation on Tuesday seeking clarity on the matter.
They are still waiting for a response.
We need money to operate, whether the money comes from students or someone else, that is immaterial to UNAM, he said.
Haufiku alleged that the protest at the institutions headquarters in Windhoek on Tuesday was fuelled by political parties and NANSO executives.
The 15 to 20 people who were there were NANSO executives and some were from political parties, he said.
On, Tuesday UNAM students 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.
The students blocked the entrance to the university from 07h00 and prevented staff members and other 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.
Meanwhile the higher education minister, Itah Kandjii-Murangi told Nampa upon enquiry on Wednesday the two parties (UNAM and her ministry) are still discussing the matter and she could not divulge more information.
We are still in the meeting, and we are still consulting, she noted.
Registration is ongoing for those who can afford to pay the registration fee until the matter is resolved.