In an attempt to assist government efforts to fight Covid-19 effects on learning, Namibia Student Financial Assistance Fund (NSFAF) has pledged to pay N$10 000 per student for non-tuition fees to ensure they equip themselves with internet connectivity related tools for e-learning.
Local universities, including private institutions of higher learning, last week maintained they were ready to roll out e-learning classes, saying it is a technology that they have embraced for years.
With coronavirus, technology and online learning platforms have become increasingly essential worldwide. When adapting to this new normal, universities have quickly evolved their digital tools and platforms to ensure uninterrupted educational delivery to students not on campus due to the virus.
In an interview with New Era last week, NSFAF acting CEO Kennedy Kandume said the fund took into consideration that everyone is affected by Covid-19, including students.
“We as funders, we are saying we owe institutions of higher learning their tuition. We sum up the amounts together and say ordinarily this time of the year how much we would have paid them? We put some amount together,” he said.
Hence, he explained they agreed to pay N$10 000 to each student for non-tuition fees and together is about N$282 million.
Kandume said this is not extra payment that the fund has forked out, it’s what NSFAF owe students for non-tuition for 2020 academic year.
“We are saying if treasury is to release that money, then we would be able to bring some relief to students who might want to continue with online and e-learning so they can use it to acquire data and tools they will need for online learning. It’s not extra money. It’s just the normal payment. We are requesting early release of the money instead of late payment in June or May,” Kandume maintained.
He said the payment is only meant for continuing students, as new students are yet to sign a contract with NSFAF. NSFAF is currently busy validating the awarding process of loans and grants to new students for the 2020 academic year.
Further, he said the N$10 000 is not a blanket sum to say even those who don’t deserve to get it will receive the exact figure.
Kandume said NSFAF expects to fork out millions to 22 600 continuing students. Although he did not mention the total number of students, he said NSFAF will also pay students at vocational training centres. -firstname.lastname@example.org