WINDHOEK: The Minister of Education lashed out on institutions of higher learning in the country, for denying students from writting examinations, because they did not pay tuition fees.
Abraham Iyambo who was speaking at a one-day stakeholders workshop on the review of the entire higher education system in Namibia in relation to its contribution to the achievement of Vision 2030, here on Thursday, particularly referred to those students who receive government loan through the Namibia Student Financial Assistant Fund (NSFAF).
He said: “ A case in point of how some students are treated is the letter that students received from the Ministry of Education indicating that they will receive a loan or bursary.”
Yet, some students come back to the Ministry reporting that they were denied the opportunity to sit for the examinations and told that they should pay before they can write, explained the education Minister.
He made it clear that his Ministry has always honoured its promises and kept its word and will continue to do so.
Iyambo therefore pleaded with the Polytechnic of Namibia (PoN) and the University of Namibia (UNAM) to treat those students with empathy and understanding.
The Education Minister also expressed concern that the higher education institutions are introducing new courses and enroll students without properly discussing the resource implications with government and then blame government for the lack of space and funds.
“This practice must be discontinued: immediately, summarily and forthwith. I am astonished many a time to read in the newspapers of decisions that were taken to build a new campus here and an additional satellite campus there, without the plans ever being discussed with the MoE,” he said.
According to Iyambo, this is a sure way to discredit government in the eyes of the nation saying government can only fund what was co-planned, agreed and factored into the budget.
He further called on institutions of higher learning to ensure that internship programmes are high on the agenda at their respective institutions.
Currently, a Cabinet Committee is looking into internships and job attachment, he said adding that ground work has also been done by the NSFAF on the issue.
On research, the Education Minister said it (research) is not well coordinated and there is not indication of the total national expenditure on research or the outcomes of research.
“We are told constantly told that research is underfunded, but it is not clear what this claim is based on,” he stressed.
Therefore, his Ministry through the newly established National Commission on Research, Science and Technology (NCRST) and the National Research, Science and Technology Fund (NRSTF) will coordinate all research, ensure that it is relevant and serves national needs.