Namibia University of Science and technology has denied claims by its Student Representative Council president Oscar Mwandingi that office shortages has forced the institution to convert some hostel rooms into office space.
Mwandingi recently made the claims when he opposed the N$25 million budgeted by NUST for its rebranding exercise.
Mwandingi alleged that a number of hostel room for the male students were turned into offices for staff members, but NUST Director for Marketing and Communications Kaitira Kandjii denied the allegations saying the institutions has sufficient office space. “That cannot be true, when it comes to office space for staff members we are sorted, we even bought some houses in the vicinity of NUST that can serve as offices,” he said. According to Mwandingi, some of the hostel rooms at the NUST hostel have been converted into offices to cater for staff members.
“It is a ridiculous amount[rebranding budget] to spend, especially when considering the fact that students face so many challenges. The accommodation situation is already dire, now hostel rooms have to be sacrificed into offices,” lamented Mwandingi.
“I fail to see what the N$25 million is being spent on during this whole process,” he said.
The exercise was necessitated after Polytechnic was transformed into a university. NUST has however indicated that it cannot complete the rebranding process in the envisaged 12 months, if the higher education does not intervene with a cash injection.
“There is no specific amount allocated for the rebranding exercise. NUST submitted a rebranding budget of N$25 million to the Ministry of Higher Education, Training and Innovation to fund the exercise. However, this has yet to been funded, and the urgency for funding has been compounded by a huge subsidy reduction of more than 30%,” said
Mwandingi was not impressed with the budget when contacted yesterday, saying the money can be used for more pressing needs such as student accommodation and providing office space for staff members. The rebranding exercise involves a complete change of the brand identity.
This includes aspects such as the corporate colours, corporate identity, including the logos, the motto, signage, stationary and brand marks for all faculties and centres. The rebranding also includes promotional and display material as well as academic material such as gowns, certificates and ceremonial banners and flags.
Kandjii said there is no separate budget for the rebranding process, adding that: “The exercise has been funded to date from within the operational budget, but appropriate funding should be availed to complete the process.”