WINDHOEK - The University of Namibia (Unam) has revealed it has dismissed eight of its employees since last year, resulting from various cases of theft under false pretence, fraud, corruption, maladministration, absenteeism, misrepresentation or breach of trust.
Unam Vice-Chancellor, Professor Kenneth Matengu, made the revelation yesterday when he officially addressed staff and students at the opening of the 2019 Unam academic year.
In his address, Matengu emphasised five key values, namely professionalism; mutual respect; integrity; transparency and accountability.
He said between 2018 to date, 12 case of disciplinary hearings were conducted, of which eight resulted in dismissals.
Further, he revealed during the same period 37 warnings were issued, of which 31 of these are very recent.
“Transparency is the cooperation in the workplace, including operations guided by openness. The key associated behaviour is trustworthiness and openness. In the spirit of transparency, you must know today that my leadership will exercise zero tolerance against theft, fraud, corruption and maladministration,” he warned.
Matengu also disclosed that more than 80 cases are under investigation across the various Unam campuses. Unam has 12 campuses including the main campus.
Matengu said a large number of students have also been issued with warnings while others have been suspended for cheating in exams and plagiarism. He warned the consequences would be severe this year onwards.
“Dear students, please be aware we will not tolerate cheating or plagiarism, vandalism of university property or any form of delinquency. We encourage everyone to report theft, corruption, fraud or any form of dishonesty. It’s your choice to comply or be part of these statistics,” Matengu cautioned.
On professionalism, Matengu expressed concern that there are some lazy and undedicated lecturers who are stealing teaching time by constantly being absent from work or from class, while others deliberately cancel lectures for no valid reason.
“Are you being professional if you absent yourself from work or class? Are you being professional if you arbitrarily cancel lectures? Are you being professional if you gossip, if you do not demonstrate your competence by diversifying your ways of assessment?” he questioned the staff while reminding them that universities are also for the public good.
He maintained Unam does not condone favouritism, nepotism, xenophobia, adding that they have respect for diversity in recruitment of staff and enrolment of students as well as for people living with disability.
On accountability, he said in the last seven months, his office has been inundated with student complaints of ill treatment by staff members especially managers who at times fail to address students’ concerns.
He therefore, advised students to put their complaints in writing so that complaints can be addressed accordingly.
He said an institution-wide performance management system would be in place in four months’ time.
“It will start with performance management contracts with top leadership shortly and then cascaded to everyone. There are some deans and directors who do not take decisions and are always pushing non-strategic matters to my office. Do not send students from pillar to post; take decisions that is why you are in those positions. When students make an inquiry, respond within 48 hours.”
In addition, Matengu said he has noticed that there are people who peddle the idea that Unam is either unable or unwilling to address the issue of diversity and access to higher education.
He said those who argue that university education must be made free and that massification must take hold, have made the situation worse.
“University education cannot and has never been free. Paying for higher education is an investment, investing in yourself cannot be at your detriment. Even in countries where it is said to be free, it is not free – someone pays for it either through increased income tax, or through a loan scheme. So please, pay your fees and do so on time,” he clarified.
He said the student population is ever-increasing and they received over 20 000 in the last few weeks alone. He therefore appealed to government to consider increased investments in the development budget for adequate training infrastructure in Namibia.
2019-02-14 10:00:32 6 days ago