By Kuvee Kangueehi
A committee responsible for the allocation of loans and bursaries at the Ministry of Education has invited the University of Namibia and Polytechnic of Namibia student representative council (SRC) members and the Namibian National Student Organisation (Nanso) to be present during the allocation process.
The committee invited the three institutions in order to address alleged unfair allocation of bursaries and loans to learners from rich families at the expense of those coming from poor backgrounds.
At a joint press conference of the Swapo Party Youth League (SPYL), Nanso, SRC members of Unam and Polytechnic of Namibia, SPYL’s secretary for Education, Culture and Pioneer Movement, Clinton Swartbooi, said the three institutions have accepted the invitation and will now monitor the process.
He said the invitation was accepted with immediate effect and will be implemented as soon as possible to ensure that the process is transparent and fair.
At the press conference, Swartbooi also appealed to parastatals, individuals, private enterprises, comrades and friends to aid and complement Government efforts as a form of voluntary social corporate responsibility.
The SPYL appealed to all former students, who have in the past benefited from the fund through the loan scheme, to honour their contractual obligations and pay back the Ministry of Education.
Swartbooi said this would logically enable the Government to offer more loans to other deserving students.
He said the SPYL is aware that some of the former students have changed their surnames and contact addresses through marriage or work. He said they must be responsible enough to inform the Ministry about these changes.
Swartbooi warned those who are trying to evade paying back loans that they would be traced through records at the Social Security Commission and the Office of Inland Revenue.
He said the Anti-Corruption Commission might even be invited to help, as failure to pay back the loan is tantamount to corruption.
The SPYL further pleaded with the Government to increase funding to the Polytechnic of Namibia, Unam, colleges of education and vocational training centres.
Swartbooi said this would enable the institutions of higher learning to meet their challenges and provide quality education to the leaders of tomorrow.
He also asked the Government to top-up current loans and bursaries by 50 percent to enable students to meet the ever-increasing tertiary institution costs and demands.
The SPYL recommended that the Government should provide for those learners in schools who cannot afford school development funds, as no Namibian child should be deprived of the right to education because of lack of funds.
The ruling party youth wing also recommended that the Government establish a mobile educational tribunal, which will handle and resolve day-to-day complaints which schools and tertiary institutions face.
The tribunal, if established, will also address school fund inconsistencies in relation to affordability by some parents.