WINDHOEK – The Minister of Higher Education, Training and Innovation Dr Itah Kandjii-Murangi says the difficult economic climate has affected the Namibia Students Financial Assistance Fund (NSFAF), whose annual budgetary allocations for the past three years have seen a sharp decline.
As a ministry, she said, they are cognisant that collective efforts are thus needed to stabilise the fiscal situation in the shortest possible time.
“This bleak economic picture affected budgetary allocations to NSFAF like it did to other agencies and sectors of government. For the past three years NSFAF has seen a sharp decline in its annual allocations. This happened as the numbers of students qualifying at post-secondary level to access tertiary education increased exponentially,” Kandjii-Murangi noted.
This financial year, an amount of N$1.14 billion was allocated to NSFAF, which could only cater for continuing students and a small fraction of the 2019 new intake, leaving out more than 12,000 new eligible students.
With the current budget shortfall of NSFAF of N$412 million, the minister said, the ministry was seized with consultative meetings and information sharing sessions with all key stakeholders.
These included the Office of the Prime Minister, Ministry of Finance, institutions of higher learning, student organisations and youth leaders.
She added that this is because the student number outweighs the NSFAF annual allocation budget.
“I am pleased to inform you that the technical team that was constituted for the purpose of identifying additional resources to fund the NSFAF shortfall for this academic year, has successfully completed its assignment, and the matter has been resolved,” she said.
She revealed that N$182 million would be sourced from within government while N$238 million will be sourced from financial institutions. This translates into a total amount of N$420 million that is needed to cover the more than 12 000 needy eligible students.
The higher education ministry and the Ministry of Finance constituted a high-level technical team to critically and conclusively explore immediate options to be adopted in funding the 12 300 eligible new students for 2019.
According to her, access to tertiary education is of paramount importance and therefore, the aim is to make sure that available resources cover more eligible students and not only a few.
In this regard, she said students and parents alike have to understand and appreciate the hard reality that individual benefits of education outweigh social benefits.
She emphasised the need for commitment towards partnering with government in co-funding education, particularly tertiary education.
To ensure that NSFAF covers most eligible students, the awards will be done according to certain funding formula, which include 100 percent tuition fees to be paid for all funded students.
Equally, continuing students prior to 2018 will receive N$21 600 non-tuition fee and their contractual obligations will be maintained.
For the 2018 and 2019 intakes, students will receive N$17 000 as non-tuition fee.
Moreover, she thanked the leadership of all local universities and colleges for having allowed students to register and continue with their studies while the matter was being resolved.
2019-09-25 07:00:04 20 days ago