WINDHOEK – Following a meeting with officials from the Office of the Prime Minister, Nanso leaders and others the Namibia Students Financial Assistance Fund (Nsfaf) has announced it will fund the remaining 12 624 students after it secured two thirds of the money needed.
This came in the wake of a meeting on Monday between Nanso, the prime minister, Swapo Party Youth League (SPYL), finance ministry and education officials, Nsfaf and various other stakeholders. Nsfaf recently announced it could only afford to fund 2 925 students due to a shortfall of N$641 million in its budget allocation, which precipitated a social media backlash and threats by Nanso to mobilise a nationwide poll boycott of the upcoming presidential and National Assembly elections slated for November
Mass demonstrations around the country by disgruntled students pursued, threatening to shut down the higher education ministry if Nsfaf and government failed to find alternatives to fund all students. In total, 24 739 applications were received by Nsfaf, of which 15 087 qualified for assistance. The remaining 9 650 did not meet the funding requirements for student assistance.
Nanso secretary general Simon Taapopi said the government has committed itself to exploring all possible ways to accommodate the rest of the students.
Taapopi said a working committee was formed by Cabinet to look into the issue and it will provide feedback on the final funding plan within two weeks. This means students who are not part of the 2 925 now funded and part of the 12 624 will be able to register for the second semester.
However, Taapopi said Nsfaf should convene a convention to discuss and recommend changes to its award and debt recovery policies to ensure an inclusive and equitable funding formula.
“The Ministry of Higher Education, Training and Innovation will look into the possibilities of an education levy paid for by employers who employ graduates, as possible funding alternative for higher education to ensure an inclusive and equitable funding formula,” he explained.
He added that the Ministry of Finance would expedite the payments of continuing students to ensure that institutions of higher learning do not experience cash flow problems.
“In our opinion, Nsfaf’s current policies bear little sustainability and financial prudence, and therefore run the risk of excluding beneficiaries in the future. Such risk falls short of our commitment to ensuring that every deserving Namibian child has access to tertiary education in our lifetime,” he said. Taapopi said the higher education ministry would explore the establishment of a regulatory body to regulate tuition fees to ensure that education is not commodified.
2019-06-14 09:17:49 3 months ago