WINDHOEK - The Ministry of Higher Education, Training and Innovation, in collaboration with Namibia Students Financial Assistance Fund (Nsfaf) and student representative bodies, is currently engaging the universities leadership on the issues of student funding.
The outcome will be communicated accordingly.
With the current budget allocation of N$1.138 billion, Nsfaf is only able to fund study loans of 2 925 new applicants, out of 24 739 applications received.
Although 9 650 of the received applications did not meet the funding requirements, 15 087 applicants did qualify for assistance.
Continuing students are to be funded to the tune of N$1.076 billion, the fund said.
Nsfaf says the budget allocated to it falls short of N$641 million.
Due to this shortfall which saw thousands of university students not receiving government financial assistance, many of those needy students were unable to register for the second semester.
Equally, this irked a large group of tertiary students who recently staged a peaceful demonstration where they petitioned the Nsfaf management as well as the minister of higher education demanding that all qualified and eligible students should be funded despite where they are studying.
The higher education ministry Executive Director Alfred Van Kent said the ministry is aware of the fact that Nsfaf funded students have to sit for examinations as well as to register for the second semester.
“It is within this context that the ministry is regarding the lack of funds to eligible students as a strategic issue,” he vowed.
According to him, since April this year when the ministry received the guideline amount, several meetings have taken place with the relevant stakeholders to address the critical issue of student funding.
He said the ministry has also engaged student representative bodies regarding the matter and a high-level technical committee has been constituted to find an amicable solution to challenges faced by Nsfaf.
Further, he noted the ministry appreciate the understanding and commitment of the student and their leadership to support the government through this period.
He encouraged students to remain calm and called upon them to bear with them as the ministry is tirelessly working to find amicable solutions in the matter.
Van Kent maintained the ministry has since its creation initiate interventions to ensure that quality higher education is delivered to the Namibian nation, through the advancement of quality programmes and credible projects.
“As a ministry, we are cognisant of the difficult financial climate the government is currently experiencing and the fact that we should consider the need to stabilise the fiscal situation in the shortest possible time. The ministry is regarding access to higher education, including skills development as critical, in order to transform the Namibian economy from a resource-base to an innovation knowledge-intensive economy,” he stated.