Windhoek-The newly introduced Namibia Student Financial Assistance Fund (NSFAF) online registration system has tremendously cut down on administration, employees’ frustration and overtime, increased efficiency and eliminated long waiting time and uncertainty for potential students.
NSFAF chief executive officer Hilya Nghiwete said the new system was launched on December 15, 2016 and has been a resounding success.
She could however not reveal the total number of students who applied and those who are eligible for funding.
The long queues experienced over the years by needy students applying for financial assistance from NSFAF became a thing of the past since students as of December last year were able to apply online.
NSFAF changed its traditional manual application process that normally runs from August to December each year.
Students will be able to know their status regarding their application and awarding of loans within 48 hours, unlike in the past when they had to wait for months.
She said NSFAF has created a quantum leap in efficiency for the Namibian education sector.
Further, she noted NSFAF is constantly looking for ways to improve its offerings for its stakeholders, mainly students.
To this end, she said, NSFAF launched the Eligibility Checker in December 2016 based on its Loan Grant Application Management Information System.
“The vision and our goal for 2017 is to make NSFAF the most efficient, effective and streamlined state-owned enterprise in Namibia. By taking the registration and application process online, students can register from anywhere in Namibia, or the world in fact. Through their smartphone, tablet, laptop or any other device by using SMS, the NSFAF Facebook Messenger or the NSFAF website, within seconds they’ll know if they are eligible and for what form of financial assistance they qualify for their future studies,” Nghiwete maintained.
She congratulated all learners that passed and now eagerly anticipate their journey into tertiary education.
For those that didn’t quite make the grade this year, she urged them not to despair, saying life is all about second chances.
“You can still improve and reach your educational goals if you continue to show commitment, dedication, and not give up on your academic dreams and endeavours. NSFAF will be here waiting for you once you successfully complete your Grade 12 studies,” she encouraged.
According to her, education is the foundation upon which the youth can develop and in which a society must place faith and the surest way to eradicate poverty in a country.
“NSFAF is a great believer in this and has been given the mandate to support the youth by the Namibian government to develop and offer financial support to access education.
The importance of NSFAF, which is critical for the socio-economic development of this country, is clear by the amount of money appropriated to it annually,” she said.
Furthermore, she noted the fund can easily be tracked and measured directly as to its contribution to the Harambee Prosperity Plan, especially in supporting youth in enrolling in vocational education.
Without investment in the youth and education the government has realised it would be shooting itself in the foot when it comes to the nation’s development, she said.
Therefore, she said, NSFAF funding for education comes in different forms such as the merit-based scholarship – grants offered to all the best performing Namibians.
There are also grants available for priority fields of study – given to any eligible Namibian studying in a priority field of study.
Equally, there are loans offered for non-priority studies to students whose parental income does not exceed N$ 750,000.
“Our regional logistics and resources group organised a roadshow to all 14 regions and 119 locations while the campus logistics and resource group organised NSFAF stands at 18 campuses throughout the country. NSFAF has reached its broadest audience to date, including in the most remote and rural areas for the intake and will continue to do so in the first quarter of 2017.”