WINDHOEK - Government last week promised to avail N$370 million towards the Namibia Students Financial Assistance Fund (NSFAF).
Last week, the newly-formed Students’ Union of Namibia (SUN) also sought an audience with finance minister Calle Schlettwein after it had threatened to camp outside the ministry after declaring student funding a crisis. “We are no longer accepting things; we cannot change. We are changing the things we cannot accept.
Because it is our responsibility to stand up for our members, and it is unethical and inhuman to watch helplessly when our members are unreasonably neglected and stressed. We have been forced to take radical practical steps to seek an audience with the Honourable minister of finance on urgent basis to discuss the crisis in student financing on the 12 December 2019,” said SUN leader Simon Amunime.
“After many hours of waiting, the Honourable minister, together with his executives, granted us an audience at 15h00.” When Schettwein met the demonstrating students led by Amunime, both parties reached consensus that treasury would on 13 December dismburse N$170 million to NSFAF. It was also resolved that the ministry would transfer N$200 million to NSFAF by the end of this month.
The finance ministry has already disbursed N$930 million to NSFAF as part of its 2019/2020 budget. It was agreed that NSFAF be given permission to borrow an additional N$200 million to cover the student funding deficit.
Amunime also said it was agreed that NSFAF be spoken to in order for their offices to remain open until the payment process to students is complete.
Equally, Amunime noted, the minister vowed to ensure that the 2020/2021 budget for the students’ fund is sufficient. Both parties agreed that a new framework would be implemented soon, which will enable the finance ministry to handle NSFAF’s financial division.
SUN commended the commitment of government, in particular the finance ministry, towards the funding of the higher education sector. “We further extend our gratitude and appreciation to the minister of finance, Honourable Calle Schlettwein, for his understanding and consideration in prioritising students’ funding in Namibia.
The students also thanked the leadership of the Namibian police for the role they played in handling situations of this nature and in facilitating peaceful encounters with stakeholders,” he said. The students also pleaded with institutions of higher education to consider reducing their registration fees when the new academic year starts in 2020.
2019-12-16 11:07:41 | 7 months ago