Windhoek The Namibia National Students Organisation (Nanso) yesterday expressed delight at President Hage Geingob’s call for the abolition of government’s study loan system, in order to replace it with a grant system. Nanso has long been a strong advocate of the abolition of the current system, which saddled young graduates with a collective debt of N$300 million owed to the Namibia Student Financial Assistance Fund (NSFAF). Over the past few years, institutions of higher learning have been turning away student loan holders during registration and when it is time to take their exams, because the government had not yet released the funds owed to the institutions. At the beginning of this year, Nanso, alongside the student leadership of the three major universities, the University of Namibia (Unam), the Polytechnic of Namibia - soon to be transformed into the Namibian University of Science and Technology - and the International University of Management, emphasised the need for NSFAF loans to be transformed into grants. On Monday Geingob urged government to move away from the study loan system to a system of grants that would enable students to build up wealth portfolios instead of going into debt after graduation. Nanso secretary for information communication and technology, Vincent Shimutwikeni, who also leads Unam’s student representative council, yesterday said students are very glad that the president has taken their demands for free tertiary education to heart. “People thought we were crazy and had all kinds of unscrupulous remarks to make. Today what we were saying has become relevant to our government, as it always has been,” he said. “However we cannot comment too much right now, as the statements remain vague in some areas, such as whether these grants will support all costs, including accommodation? “Will it only be new grants, or will all loans that have been taken so far also become grants?” Nanso further expressed their gratitude over the fact that President Geingob is going all out in the fight against poverty. “We are all soldiers in this battle and we are ready to support the president if he ensures that there are no barriers to higher education. We want free education across the board and we are calling on the president to make free education a reality,” Shimutwikeni said.
New Era Reporter
2015-10-28 09:00:10 3 years ago