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ICT boost for local students… NSFAF told to incorporate connectivity benefits

2020-10-06  Albertina Nakale

ICT boost for local students… NSFAF told to incorporate connectivity benefits
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Higher education minister Itah Kandjii-Murangi says it is a serious disservice for any Namibian child to be at university level without a laptop or even connectivity gadgets.

She made the remarks yesterday during the launch of the registration portal of student data devices and laptops at the Namibia
University of Science and Technology (Nust). The launch means students are welcome to register and apply for online connectivity
gadgets. The same initiative will be rolled out to other educational institutions.

The laptop initiative of N$180 million contract to supply university students with 32 000 laptops is part of the government’s support
plan for higher education institutions and students to boost e-learning platforms and ensure remote teaching takes place during
the Covid-19 pandemic.

Kandjii-Murangi explained NSFAFfunded and private students will benefit from the Covid-19 emergency support programme. “Government takes it seriously that it becomes the norm. NSFAF, hear me out… as first-years come in… those that you fund must be given as much as you give them a 100% tuition fee. They must be provided with non-tuition fees which are already standardised for some or most of them. The
issue of connectivity gadgets – the issues of necessary equipment such as laptops have to be part of that package,” she directed.
She cautioned the beneficiaries to use the equipment and connectivity gadgets for educational and research purposes only.
“And honestly, there should be no child who receives this and misuse or abuses this for any other thing. They are for your education – for your research that pave way for your success. There should be no overstaying at no given level. Overstaying means you are taking up space for others.”

The Covid-19 support programme to higher education is an initiative of the government that emanated from the first lockdown was looming.
The government decided to support all public higher education institutes to ensure they expand their ICT infrastructure.
The second element is that the government started engaging education institutions to determine how many students lack ICT
infrastructure for online learning.

Thirdly, to provide the connectivity gadgets to students, irrespective of whether they are public or private institutions or state-funded.
After a needs analysis by the National Council for Higher Education (NCHE) found that about 32 000 students have no access to laptops or computers, treasury was approached to avail additional resources and grant NSFAF an exemption to procure the gadgets for needy students. 
“Wherever these needy Namibian students are found, they should be provided with these connectivity gadgets. Every needy student
should benefit from this important initiative. Why is the government doing this? It is because the youth of our country are the future
of this nation. Therefore, providing them with the necessary quality education is so pivotal to the development and advancement of our
nation as mentioned in the 4th industrial revolution,” she stated. She encouraged those who are needy and interested in the laptops to apply.

2020-10-06  Albertina Nakale

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