Windhoek – The Namibian student organization Nanso says should the University of Namibia deny its members access to tertiary education due to high registration and tuition fees, they would not hesitate to act.
Nanso (Namibian National Students Organisation) says it has always stood, and still stands, for free quality education for all.
Students registering at Unam have to pay a mandatory registration fee of
N$6 650 that includes N$1 650 for registration and a percentage of the year’s tuition which normally ranges from N$10 000 to N$15 000 or more depending on the course.
“Our message to universities is ‘never confuse our silence for weakness and our peace for fear.’ Namibian universities and their councils, both private and public, keep undermining the strength of the Namibian child because we didn’t start burning down buildings and breaking down properties yet,” Nanso secretary for education and research, Ashwell Forbes, said in a strongly worded statement.
He went on to say: “2017 is a good year for the uprising of the Namibian student revolution. Many might still doubt we have what it takes to have that uprising but we dare you: deny access to our members and we will not meet in boardrooms anymore because the cookies and tea meetings have brought us nowhere.”
He said Nanso understands universities need operational cash but there is a need as well for universities to sit down and analyse Nanso’s proposals on free tertiary education.
Unam assistant director for communications and marketing Shahid Shu’aib Dickson last week was adamant the university registration fees as outlined remain unchanged, adding that registration fees plus tuition deposit should be settled during registration.
Unam first year students will start registration on January 23.
Unam student debt increased significantly during 2016 due to non-payment of registration fees upfront.
Nanso feels the N$1 650 registration fee plus N$5 000 as deposit for tuition are unreasonable for students from poor households.
“Unam must understand that it is a competitive university in the world because it has students to raise the bar to that extent. We cannot deny that registration fees of that nature are denying many students the opportunity to pursue their God-given purpose. When a student is denied that right, we as a student organisation have no choice but to protect that right procedurally or un-procedurally at all cost. The year 2016 through #university lock down# has proven that our students are tired and fearless. Institutions might have the finances to seek legal assistance but a deprived citizen has nothing to lose,” said Forbes.
The Unam Council last December announced the tuition and hostel deposit fees increment for 2017 for Namibian and other SADC as well as non-SADC students.