PDM calls for government NSFAF bailout

22 May 2019 19:30pm
WINDHOEK, 22 MAY (NAMPA) – Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) vice president Jennifer van den Heever has said that her party will try to convince government to bail out the Namibia Student Financial Assistance Fund (NSFAF) and pay off student loans.
Van den Heever made these remarks during a press conference at the party’s headquarters here on Wednesday, where it addressed the recently reported dire NSFAF student funding issue. The budget allocated to the institution for this year can only cater for 2 925 students, leaving out over 12 000 students eligible for financial assistance. The fund would need another N.dollar 641 million to accommodate the remaining students.
Van den Heever said her party is in the process of engaging various stakeholders which will include Minister of Higher Education, Training and Innovation, Itah Kandjii-Murangi, the Namibia National Students Organisation, student representative councils from different tertiary institutions and the NSFAF to discuss how the issue can be resolved.
She said one of the first issues the party plans to address is for the government to bail out NSFAF to enable it to pay for student loans and allow students to continue with their studies, even if the government has to use contingency funds.
“I know the contingency fund is meant for unforeseen circumstances and this is one of them,” added Van den Heever.
She said her party’s wish is for an education system complemented by an effective funding system that will not leave students out on the street.
“The major issue in the country is the release of funds in tranches by the treasury, which delays distribution of funds to students.”
She also questioned how it was possible for the government to make such a “regrettable” budget allocation that would accommodate under 20 per cent of the eligible students.