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Home / NUST books foreign exchange students in a guesthouse amid Covid-19

NUST books foreign exchange students in a guesthouse amid Covid-19

2020-03-18  Paheja Siririka

NUST books foreign exchange students in a guesthouse amid Covid-19

Universities in Namibia have gone on early recess amid the outbreak of the coronavirus in the country. The University of Science and Technology (NUST) has given transport money to students who reside in the hostel, and foreign students are being booked in a guest house to minimise congestion on the premises.

“The hostel students were assisted with transport money to go home, as it was a sudden situation which caught the institution off guard and it was a precautionary measure because having more than 400 students in the cafeteria or dining hall will not be an ideal situation,” said Dr Donovan Zealand, the director of student services at NUST. 

He also said further measures were taken for foreign exchange students. “We are going to book them into Kleines Heim Guesthouse, which belongs to the institution, and we are also in touch with the different embassies until they return to their countries of origin,” said Zealand.

NUST over the weekend sent out a notice to staff and students that the mid-term break, which was initially scheduled for 6 – 10 April 2020 has been shifted to this week, 16 – 27 March 2020. “Please note, as per the NUST rules and regulations, the semester break is only applicable all students and all academic staff. This is, therefore, not applicable to administrative staff,” read the release.

The university stated there will be no assessments due and no classes scheduled, including block release lessons during the mid-term break. However, the e-learning platform will be used for teaching and learning. The statement indicated that the graduation ceremonies, scheduled for 29 and 30 April 2020, have been postponed to coincide with the October 2020 graduation ceremonies, with the new dates to be communicated in due course.

The University of Namibia (Unam), through its acting director of marketing John Haufiku, notified students that the institution is on recess from 16 to 30 March 2020 and that all fulltime courses will be administered online after the recess for 30 days.

Students created a petition of 450 signatures for the institution to change its directive from cancelling the graduation ceremony to postponing it. “Unfortunately, we cannot promise an actual graduation ceremony when we do not know what the situation will look like days or even months from now,” read the statement.

The institution, however, acknowledged that graduation ceremonies are sacred and pegged to conferment. “We prefer that students receive their qualifications with the full understanding that these certificates have been formally conferred at a virtual ceremony. This makes graduation different, not lessor,” read the statement.

Unam promised to find ways to still make the graduation day special for all graduates by publishing material using digital platforms.
The International University of Management (IUM), which initially had its midterm break from 14 to 17 April 2020, has been moved forward from 16 to 23 March 2020. On its Facebook page, IUM discouraged the face-to-face lectures and that special task force has been established to monitor the situation and the future developments regarding the evolution of Covid-19.

2020-03-18  Paheja Siririka

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