The Students Representative Council Forum for higher education institutions has once again threatened that should government institutions fail to show any willingness, in terms of their efforts, to provide adequate accommodation for students, students would erect shacks around campuses as temporary accommodation come March next year.
Nanso (Namibian National Students Organisation) secretary general Dimbulukeni Nauyoma said they failed to understand how student accommodation is such a low priority for decision-makers and for institutions like NSFAF (Namibia Students Financial Assistance Fund). The SRC Forum met last month under the umbrella of Nanso.
“It just does not make any sense that NSFAF in their reviews came up with mechanisms to increase funds for students to rent accommodation, but no mention is made of support for a student village. We herewith inform students that Nanso has identified unique areas on three of our main institutions of higher learning to construct shacks come March 2017,” he said without divulging the names of the three institutions.
This was one of the major resolutions taken by Nanso when it hosted SRCs from institutions of higher learning, namely International University of Management (IUM), University of Namibia (Unam), Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST), College of the Arts (COTA) and Institute of Bankers (IoB) at its annual SRC Forum on September 16.
Although the previous resolution to construct shacks was made in 2015, the SRC Forum said it has now made a second and final call on the Ministry of Higher Education and NSFAF to note Nanso’s resolution 10 that seeks to address the high rentals students pay. It thus wants a student village to be constructed.
The SRC Forum further requested the Ministry of Higher Education to draft an apprenticeship policy and fast-track its implementation.
Nanso has also threatened government that if its (Nanso’s) call to unfreeze 15 000 vacancies within the government falls on death ears within the next two months, Nanso would call for a national campaign of graduates on the streets.
The Nanso Khomas regional leadership has already started a campaign of graduates on the streets.
In April, Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila expressed government’s commitment to ensure graduates in the country are absorbed into the labour market.
At the time, Kuugongelwa-Amadhila said an ad-hoc ministerial committee was recently established to investigate barriers to graduates finding suitable jobs and to facilitate the absorption of graduates in the labour market.
The committee is also set to investigate issues of employers requiring candidates to have experience on top of the required academic qualifications.
“We are reliably informed that committees have been established under the Prime Minister’s Office to deal with issues of graduates and internships but the status quo indicates that the committees are dragging their feet in addressing these issues,” the Nanso SG said.
The Nanso leadership also says it remains firm in supporting President Hage Geingob’s call that students shouldn’t graduate into debts.
“Nanso herewith reiterates its position that all NSFAF loans should be transformed into grants. Indeed, this remains our call until free tertiary education is achieved. As we continue to live in a country that clusters us per the size of our pockets, those with a favourable relation to the means of production dictate the agenda to the rest of society. Whilst remaining oppressive and exploitative, the world we live in is also full of corruption and greed, further perpetuating a cycle where the rich become richer whilst the poor are blackmailed to endless poverty by graduating into debts,” he noted.
Further, Nanso called on students not to entertain calls for the repayment of NSFAF loans.