WINDHOEK – The Namibia National Students Organisation (Nanso) has raised concern over the lack of a proper electronic database to record statistics of beneficiaries from the Namibia Student Financial Assistance Fund (NSFAF), saying the current system is riddled with errors and this contributes to frustrations and challenges especially with the progress of scanning.
“The fund failed to implement the instructions of the Auditor-General in the report after the institution was audited beginning of last year. The report was presented to parliament but until now most of the instructions are not carried out,” Nanso president Timotheus Angala lashed out.
The fund failed to recover the loans in the past, amounting to nearly N$400 million.
Student leaders also urged that the line minister “must dismiss the current board members with immediate effect and appoint people who have the interest of the students and the nation at heart.”
These expressions were raised last week during the summit on student funding from NSFAF attended by student representative council members from the University of Namibia (Unam), Polytechnic of Namibia, International University of Management, Lingua College, Institute of Bankers and the Windhoek Vocational Centre.
The meeting was called to discuss the obstacles and challenges the students are currently facing at different institutions especially with funding from NSFAF.
They called on the NSFAF to get a proper database like other financial institutions and recover loans issued to the previous beneficiaries.
They expressed their disappointment in the manner in which student loans are distributed, saying the current system whereby the whole amount is first sent to the institution is very cumbersome. Nanso feels the agreement is between the student and not between the fund and the institution.
Angala said currently students are given lump sums and it is not clear what the money is supposed to pay for.
“The money is also not enough. Students have different expenses such as tuition, accommodation, transport, books and medical expenses. Some of these expenses are on a monthly basis and others are on an annual basis. Some of expenses are not covered, resulting in students struggling to pay the expenses, while they are having a study loan,” Angala noted.
Student leaders feel NSFAF must cover all necessary student expenses, saying “it is a loan and students will have to pay it back later.”
They also want students to get their loans on a monthly instalment basis for the monthly expenses such as accommodation, transport, books and medical expenses. While, they say tuition fees must be paid directly to the institutions.
“All the challenges, which students are facing locally and internationally are due to lack of proper governance and management practice,” Angala said.
Nanso also made reference to Namibian students who are currently stranded in foreign countries.