The Namibia Students Financial Assistance Fund (NSFAF) has clarified that the laptop initiative is not only for government-funded beneficiaries but for thousands of other students in the country who also stand to benefit.
NSFAF acting CEO Kennedy Kandume yesterday said loan beneficiaries and privately funded students who are in need will also be assisted. “It is by choice. Only those who indicate that they are in need of the laptop or connectivity devices will benefit from this initiative. Those who have not opted for the device will receive full non-tuition fees,” he said. According to him, students can decide between a laptop, connectivity device or both. Students will meet the ministry halfway on the payment on these devices.
Kandume indicated that the laptop is worth N$6 000 and students will pay half of this which is N$3 000, while the higher education ministry pays the remaining half. The connectivity device is N$690. It comes with 10 gigabytes per month and students will pay N$345 as a one-off while the ministry pays the remaining N$345. In totality, students will only contribute N$3 345 to benefit from this initiative.
Such resolutions were jointly agreed by the task force team that comprises of student leaders from various institutions of higher learning such as the Namibian University of Science and Technology (Nust), the International University of Management (IUM), the University of Namibia (Unam), Welwitschia, and Triumphant College.
The team had a meeting this week with the higher education minister Itah Kandjii-Murangi, as well as Kandume, to clarify matters surrounding the initiative.
All students who wish to benefit from this initiative are advised to visit the NSFAF website and complete the survey as soon as possible. The outbreak of Covid-19 prompted the higher education ministry to engage the public and private higher education institutions, student representative councils of various institutions, key student organisations such as the Namibia National Students Organisation (Nanso) and the Students Union of Namibia (SUN) to discuss response strategies for the higher education sector.
Subsequently, an evidence-based approach was adopted whereby the National Council for Higher Education (NCHE) was tasked to conduct a needs analysis with the higher education institutions (HEIs) on online teaching and learning. Many students don’t have access to laptops or computers, while others indicated they cannot afford the cost of data to access platforms and educational resources. Kandume said ICT infrastructure (including servers, and storage devices) at institutions cannot cope with the volume of courses or programmes and supporting materials to be uploaded.