Staff Reporter Windhoek-The executive chairperson of the National Youth Council (NYC) notes that tertiary institution fees in Namibia have become unaffordable to many students, especially those from underprivileged homes. Mandela Kapere says hundreds of academically deserving and underprivileged students will thus be shut out from learning, denying them the opportunity of achieving their dreams if the higher education funding model is not addressed. “Although there are bursaries, scholarships and loans, not all deserving students can meaningfully be assisted by these schemes,” he says, adding that in some cases the requirement attached to such assistance makes them inaccessible. “We therefore need to develop and fast-track a higher education funding model that is efficient and sustainable, that will meet the funding challenges of underprivileged students.” He believes that the Namibia Students Financial Assistance Fund (NSFAF) is doing much in assisting underprivileged students, but it’s groaning under pressure. “The demand for financial assistance from NSFAF overweighs what it can support and the institution seems not to be meeting its goals, majorly because many beneficiaries do not pay back loans. For this fact, other students are deprived the opportunity to benefit from NSFAF.” Kapere adds that many students, parents and guardians are struggling to meet their basic needs, and meeting the exorbitant cost of education is an added burden. He thus proposes a funding model that could follow the public partnership approach, as proposed at the last National Education Conference that contributions by the government and the private sector ameliorate the funding challenges usually encountered by underprivileged students. “Such funding model will not only eliminate the outcry caused by the University of Namibia demand for 50 percent upfront, but will also remove the cog to the progress of the academically deserving and the underprivileged student and avoid sending capable young people to the street.” Kapere welcomes the prompt intervention of President Hage Geingob in the NSFAF financial crisis and the government’s allocation of an additional N$150 million to meet its obligations.
New Era Reporter
2018-01-31 10:16:46 9 months ago