• July 13th, 2020

Over 1 000 Unam students stranded

Albertina Nakale

WINDHOEK – Over 1 000 desperate students who registered last year with the University of Namibia (Unam) through its access and foundation programmes are stranded without space to further their academic studies.
The affected students are mainly those who passed the English access course.
The course focuses on English language skills, mainly reading, speaking, writing and listening. 
Prospective students who have a grade 12 certificate but do not qualify for university entrance due to a low English symbol (D) may enroll for the English access course.

Unam pro chancellor for academic affairs Frednard Gideon this week said the university enrolled 1 300 access students during the 2019 academic year.
To date, he announced, less than 200 of these students have been registered as first-year students in various programmes of the university.
“This is an unfortunate situation, especially in light of the fact that various faculties are advertising available spaces and invite new applications while this backlog has not been addressed,” Gideon reacted.
Unam spokesperson John Haufiku explained, in the case of the English access programme, the concept was that students primarily from Namibian rural areas tend to have excellent marks but cannot often get admission to Unam simply due to a single low English mark.
He added the English access programme was, therefore, established as a form of bridging programme to improve these students’ English and thereafter grant them admission once they have met the minimum requirements.
Haufiku said the dilemma that has unfolded over the years is that these access students have a high inclination to study specific courses – education and nursing respectively. 
“From an admission policy perspective, the trouble is these two faculties also need to accept pupils who are coming straight from high school and to balance admissions regionally as well. We can’t fill two faculties with one cohort of students. These limitations have frustrated a lot of students who completed the bridging programme with the singular expectation of doing education or nursing,” Haufiku further explained.  
Students who successfully complete the access course receive a certificate at the end of the academic year.
Gideon directed that preference should be given to access and foundation students to fill available spaces, provided they meet the Senate-approved admission criteria.
Equally, he said no additional admission criteria that have been approved by the Unam Senate may apply to access and foundation students only.
Gideon clarified this should also apply to options within programmes.
Further, he noted, all efforts must be made to ensure these students are assisted as soon as possible – qualifying access and foundation students should not be referred to the late registration period.
Gideon also maintained students should take note they will not necessarily be placed in their first or second choice programmes due to a lack of available spaces.
English access is a bridging programme that is in place to help pupils enter university. It is also to comply with international goals such as broadening access to higher education; Unam has a few of these programmes. 
Haufiku said Unam remains committed to widening access to higher education but urged parents and high schools to expose students to a wider scope of career choices.


Albertina Nakale
2020-01-29 07:03:55 | 5 months ago

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