ONGWEDIVA – Students at the University of Namibia (Unam) Jose Eduardo dos Santos, Engineering Campus, in Ongwediva, have expressed their frustration over their
dean, Petrina Johannes, who allegedly failed them.
Students who spoke to this publication said Johannes has failed to manage the campus day-by-day since 2021.
The aggrieved students accuse Johannes of rarely intervening in student issues, claiming she is never hands-on or present in resolving any issues since she became the dean.
In addition, students also highlighted issues of examination timetables being
drawn up in a very inconsiderate manner and lecturers bombarding students with heavy workloads at the last minute.
A third-year student at the campus said the calendar is already in April – already past half of the semester – but students have not started school yet due to an absence of lecturers.
“There are modules that have not been taught yet. We are hopelessly stranded, with rising concerns about whether we will even complete our studies this year,” said the concerned student preferring anonymity.
He added that a situation of poor management at
the campus has even led some lecturers to resign at an alarmingly fast rate. Approached for comment, Johannes acknowledged a few outstanding modules in the Civil and Mechanical Engineering departments are yet to commence due to the abrupt unavailability of external staff that was initially recruited last year. “However, arrangements have been made to offer these modules in semester two,
and we will notify affected students accordingly,” she emphasised.
In addition, Johannes said the university has plans to offer two other modules in the Mechanical and Civil Engineering departments in the second semester as well should the plan not materialise.
“We are working within university parameters to ensure students are not
unduly impacted during this academic
year,” she added.
Johannes also confirmed as true that some staff members have left the university, which, she said, is a normal occurrence in any organisation.
“We understand that certain student groups may be more affected by this than others,” she added.
However, Johannes pointed out that the university has always acted swiftly to advertise vacant positions with the
support of the faculty and institution as a whole.
“At present, there are no approved vacant positions in the school. I am pleased to report that we are in the process of filling all current vacant positions by next semester.”
Regarding the issue of examination timetables being set inconsiderately, Johannes said the university timetable is always sent to the head of department for their input before it is released to students.
She stressed that in instances where challenges are experienced, the school has always been open to considering such challenges on a case-by-case basis.
“In this case, students are always informed to follow the amended timetable and not the one on their portal. The school will continue to work with students on this should the challenge with the examination timetable be experienced,” Johannes continued.
She also encouraged staff and students to make an appointment with her office if they wish to report anything.