21 Jan 2014 19:20pm
WINDHOEK, 21 JAN (NAMPA) - As part of efforts to recover money borrowed to students, the Namibia Students Financial Assistant Fund (NSFAF) will put in place a tracer system to make sure such monies are recovered.
Speaking at a media engagement on the activities and developments of that fund in the capital on Tuesday, the head of the NSFAF Secretariat Hilya Nghiwete explained that through the tracer system, students will be traced through the Social Security Commission (SSC) and Inland Revenue Department of the Ministry of Finance for information on where these former beneficiaries are employed.
She explained that discussions in that regard are currently underway, adding that the fund currently collects between N.dollars 7 and N.dollars 9 million on a yearly basis.
Nghiwete said the fund was faced with a challenge of tracing the students as there was no proper database in place, and a computerised database was only introduced in 2011.
The database would enable the fund to know amongst others how many people have received funding, how many failed and how many are employed.
Nghiwete expressed concern about parents who do not understand the importance of the fund and its functions, saying many parents do not want to submit parental income which will enable a student to get a loan.
Currently, learners obtain Police declarations which they then use to apply to the fund for a student loan.
She noted that there is therefore a need for the fund to educate regional councillors to educate their people on the importance of the fund, and the importance of submitting information on parental income as a supporting document for one to obtain a loan.
The NSFAF offices are found in all the 13 regions of the country, except for Kavango East which is a new region.
The NSFAF received over 11 000 applications for student loan last year of which only 1 000 are from the Khomas Region.
The NSFAF Secretariat Head further made it clear that the fund will no longer give loans to students who have obtained less than 35 points in their Grade 12 to study outside the country.
Students who wish to study outside Namibia must obtain 35 points and must pursue their studies in priority areas, she said.
The NSFAF will develop a strategic plan on 01 April 2014, and booklets about the NSFAF and its functions will be introduced.
According to Nghiwete, the fund is working with the National Planning Commission and other stakeholders on some of the shortfalls on skills in the country.
We started writing to the different stakeholders to see which areas have skills deficit so that we can contribute to lessen the skills deficit, she stressed.
The NSFAF was a department in the Ministry of Education since 1997 until 2013 when it was introduced as a Secretariat and a body on its own. It has so far funded over 58 000 students to date since its inception in 1997.