Spare a thought for students

12 November 2019 | Columns

Namibians students have been greatly unhappy this year. And seemingly, no one has been listening. In fact we wonder if those at whom the student fury is targeted are even listening. If they were, we would have certainly seen the manifestation of that.

Students from poor families, in particular, have been struggling with funding. Those with NSFAF loans, which should be a relief, had a year to forget, as their non-tuition fees remain unpaid. What this means is that students, while they may have had their tuition paid, are still struggling to pay transport to and from school, rent and meals. Female students in this situation are particularly in danger of falling prey to men who dangle cash in the faces.

Students in that situation have to make a choice between giving in to these filthy men and rescue their studies, or reject their sexual advances at the peril of their futures. These men come with the lure of providing transport to school, pocket money and accommodation.

Non-tuition fees serve as an important buffer between students and exploitative men, whose insatiable lust for fresh college-goers know no boundaries.

The point we are making is that delaying such payments is not only an economic issue, but a matter with far-reaching, devastating social consequences.

Ironically, when non-tuition fees are only paid during the end of the calendar year, when the nation slips into the high-energy festive season, such money ends up being used for nefarious activities that students shouldn’t ordinarily never indulge in.

A November payout of such money means students, after enduring a year of mayhem, now have an opportunity to throw parties and drown their sorrows. It’s almost Christmas, after all.

Those in charge of these decisions must think long and hard about the damage they are causing to the future of these young people, the majority of whom were sent to college for the main purpose of eventually lifting their destitute families out of the doldrums.