30 May 2019 14:40pm
WINDHOEK, 30 MAY (NAMPA) Around 400 students marched to the offices of the Ministry of Higher Education, Training and Innovation and Namibia Student Financial Assistance Fund (NSFAF) respectively on Wednesday, demanding that funding for the 12 000 qualifying students be honoured.
The demonstration follows the recent announcement by NSFAF that its funding from Government only provides for the financial assistance of 2 925 out of 12 000 eligible new applicants this academic year.
This is due to a shortfall of N.dollars 641 million in its 2019/20 budget.
Student Representative Council (SRC) president of Monitronic Success College, Fransiska Manyande on behalf of the students from various tertiary institutions, handed over the petition to Higher Education Minister Itah Kandjii-Murangi and NSFAF Acting Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Kennedy Kandume.
Namibia National Students Organisation (Nanso) vice-president Benhard Kavau said NSFAF should stop paying salaries to two CEOs as one of those salaries can be directed towards student funding.
NSFAF CEO Hilya Nghiwete was suspended in April last year over allegations of corruption, pending investigations.
We are also requesting the minister to find the N.dollars 641 million so that all the 12 000 students can have the opportunity to be funded, said Kavau.
He further said there are still outstanding tuition and non-tuition fees dating back to 2017 that have not yet been settled.
We have seen that the ministry has allocated N.dollars 500 000 to Nanso; we have seen no purpose for that funding, it must be diverted to students funding, he said.
Manyande reminded Kandjii-Murangi as part of the petition that knowledge is power and that the students are the future of Namibia.
They demanded that the minister overturns NSFAFs decision and refrain from treating students and student leaders differently based on where they study.
Monitronic College only got one student funded, what about the rest of us, we are all Namibians and we are all equal, we are the future of tomorrow, Manyande said.
What would happen to the rest of the students is that they would end up in the streets while they have brains to become something tomorrow, she added.
What must our teenage girls and boys become? This is the reason why we see crime increase by the day, she charged.
The students demanded that their expectations be met before or on 15 June 2019.
Kandjii-Murangi informed the crowd that the government is looking at all the points raised by the students, including the issue of transforming NSFAF.
Meanwhile, Kandume cited that they will study the petition and revert back to the group through their representatives.