14 Feb 2017 16:30pm
WINDHOEK, 14 FEB (NAMPA) The University of Namibia (UNAM) is bracing itself for financial challenges ahead as it celebrates 25 years of existence.
Speaking at the commencement ceremony of the 2017 academic year here on Tuesday, UNAM Vice- Chancellor Professor Lazarus Hangula said like other institutions funded by Government, UNAM is greatly affected by cuts in the National Budget.
The economic downturn thats currently affecting the country and the visceral budgetary cuts that the university is facing are not only crippling UNAMs critical operations and contractual obligations, but are also putting it at serious risk of irreparable damage, said Hangula.
Some of the effects include reduced activities in the flagship programmes of anaesthesia, engineering, medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine and animal health trainings.
All these programmes, he said, were designed bearing in mind the imperatives of Vision 2030 and its timelines, National Development Programmes and Namibias Human Resource Development Plan.
Hangula noted that three years ago, UNAM received a deserving budget of N.dollars 1.1 billon, which has been reduced to N.dollars 600 million.
He said the money was meant to cater for 21 000 students at the time and to upgrade infrastructure across different colleges but now with 24 000 students, the budgeted amount cannot cater for the student body.
The systematic regressive cuts of up to 40 per cent in UNAMs budget, whatever the real reasons may be, is tantamount to killing this national university by asphyxia.
Despite this huge financial challenge, the vice chancellor said: UNAM has both the resolve and stamina, and is making herself ready to defy the death certificate with an unprecedented clean and ethos of creativity.
He added that while the Pro-Vice Chancellor (PVC) Academic Affairs concentrates on teaching and learning, the PVC Research and Innovation and the PVC for Administration, Finance and Resources Mobilisation will be hard at work making sure that the financial situation becomes a thing of the past.
Hangula urged students to make 2017 a year of academic dedication, considering that it is only a limited number of young people who are admitted to higher education.