Students Union of Namibia’s president Bernard Kavau questioned why institutions only solve or address issues when radical interventions are taken against their incompetence. He was mulling this at a planned demonstration of students who assembled at Zoo Park yesterday morning.
The group planned on marching from Zoo Park to the Namibia Student Financial Assistance Fund (NSFAF) and then to the higher education ministry to protest the fund’s sluggishness in awarding scholarships.
A communique on the release of the list of NSFAF scholarship recipients was sent while the protesters were at Zoo Park resulting in the suspension of the demonstration.
While the NSFAF spokesperson Olavi Hamwele could not confirm the number of beneficiaries to New Era yesterday, a list of beneficiaries from NUST, Unam and IUM students seen by this paper totalled 6 467 beneficiaries.
Hamwele also denied that there was a delay in the release of the beneficiaries although confirming earlier that the names of successful applicants would be released on 19 May 2022.
“Are we saying that NSFAF can only work according to pressure? Is it only when we take radical interventions that the problems will be solved?” asked Kavau.
He added that if that is what it takes to get things done, the union without any hesitation will take the drastic measures without any comprise, especially when discussions around the table fail.
“We are happy but still disappointed because students are traumatised as they have been affected psychologically. We don’t think they will perform well in the upcoming exams because they suffered a lot,” he said.
Kavau suggested: “Going forward, NSFAF must ensure that by February, they release the list of students that will be funded for the year, to avoid the predicaments we are faced with now. We are disappointed at the slow pace the institution is operating at and this happens every year.”
He said if those in charge of the institution are not ready to work for the Namibian people, they must vacate the offices.
“There are a lot of youths who can take over and are willing to work without being forced. We will not leave them, they must pull up their socks,” said Kavau, adding that for now, about 17 000 students have at least been released.
First-year IUM student Jonas Haikali said he can’t afford anything money-related and heavily relies on the government loan, hence the importance of it being released on time.
“That affected my focus for the exam as we did not receive provisional letters until now, education is costly and we can’t afford it, that’s why we apply for such loans, I can’t afford university life and that is a bad feeling,” said the disoriented Haikali who is studying towards an education degree.
In a recent interview with New Era, Hamwele said they received 23 690 applications, of which 5 628 are from VTC, 16 558 undergraduate and 1 503 are post-graduates. The previous academic year received 23 000 applications, of which 16 000 qualified to be funded.
Remarking on the issue of laptops, he informed the applications for laptops closed on 7 May 2022 and that they are currently busy with the validation process of applications.
“Laptops are highly subsidised at 50% of the cost. Students have the option to pay N$3 000 in cash or in a form of an additional loan,” said Hamwele.