DISGRUNTLED: NASA’s spokesperson Eddy Edward Tjihinga. Photo NASA
DISGRUNTLED: NASA’s spokesperson Eddy Edward Tjihinga. Photo NASA

NSFAF N$10 000 non-tuition fee unfair - NASA

Mariud Ngula
In its pursuit of equitable student funding, the National African Student Association (NASA) has opposed the higher education ministry’s decision to extend N$10 000 non-tuition fees to qualifying and eligible students, citing that it is less than what students from Namibia's main universities receive.

The higher education ministry and the Namibia Student Financial Assistant Fund (NSFAF) last week announced a 50% increase in monetary student awards for the 2024 academic year.

At the occasion, higher education minister Dr Itah Kandjii-Murangi indicated that all students in higher education and training programmes will be treated the same by receiving N$10 000 non-tuition fees for upkeep, set to increase to N$17 000 next year.

NASA is disgruntled by this decision and believes it is unconstitutional and inconsistent with the NSFAF Act of 2000, as students from the University of Namibia (Unam), the Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST) and the International University of Management (IUM) receive more.

Unfair allocations

In a statement released last week, NASA’s spokesperson Eddy Edward Tjihinga said the decision violates the equality the ministry wishes to achieve. “[The association] opposes the unequal distribution of non-tuition fees to students as announced by the minister, as students from Unam, NUST and IUM receive N$17 000, which makes the N$10 000 slated for students from remaining institutions unfair,” he said.

Tjihinga said the association will continue to engage with the minister and NSFAF to ensure that the minister's assurance to raise the N$10 000 to match the N$17 000 fees for the next academic year is fulfilled.

He further urged the higher education ministry and NSFAF to review the current funding criteria to amend or abolish provisions that do not promote equitable funding for all students. “They must review the threshold for the combined gross income of parents, which continues to drive countless students into debt,” said Tjihinga.

The association welcomed and praised the higher education and finance ministries’ decision to increase the fund’s budget from N$1.6 billion to N$2.6 billion towards students’ fees, including those previously excluded.

Tjihinga noted that students from vocational training centres, Triumphant College, Welwitchia University, and other approved higher education institutions used to not benefit from the funding.

Students still not paid

NASA further noted the update given by NSFAF chief executive officer Kennedy Kandume, indicating that he promised to settle pending non-tuition fees of 2 300 students by 7 June last week. This promise had fallen short, he said.

“I was just called a while ago by a student who claims to still have not gotten anything [fees] from NSFAF. We will continue monitoring the payments and try to establish their [students] total amount,” Tjihinga told Namibian Sun.

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Namibian Sun 2024-06-25

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