Saturday 17 April 2021
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Education ministry broke its promise – NANSO

Namibia National Students Organisation (NANSO) feels the higher education ministry reneged on its promise after it decided to leave former Loudima Institute of Technical and Vocational Training students to fend for themselves.
Upon the return of the students from Loudima, the ministry allegedly promised to fund their studies at institutions of their choice. However, the ministry now seems reluctant to fund the students as promised, stating that there will be no special treatment for those students thus their prerogative to apply for financial assistance from the Namibia Student Financial Assistant Fund (NSFAF).
On the contrary, NANSO says that they are not looking into the issue of NSFAF but rather that of a Namibian child prevented from being on the street. The ministry’s under-secretary Dr Raimo Naanda recently said the ministry informed students who came from Loudima that they would be expected to return to Loudima as soon as the situation at the centre has been rectified and that students who opt not to return to Loudima will receive no special treatment when it comes to seeking funding for their studies.
“Some students opted not to return to Loudima, and suggested that they would rather seek admission at local vocational training centres. The ministry accepted the proposal and advised the students to inform the ministry since they have been admitted at local VTCs,” said Naanda, adding that they will be treated like any other students in the country.  NANSO vice president Steven Kavetu said he is still waiting for a scheduled meeting with permanent secretary Dr Alfred van Kent.
“I was supposed to meet the permanent secretary; he left a message with one of the students that I must call him but my calls went unanswered. The government had promised to do renovations at the college as they had some bilateral agreements with the college that they will renovate the college where the students will be accommodated. They said this would be done in July and they would address all the complaints of the students,’ said Kavetu in an interview yesterday.
Kavetu stopped short of saying NANSO does not support government’s decision to pump money into the Loudima institute when he said the money spent to renovate the institute can be spent to upgrade vocational centres in the country. Although the ministry remains adamant that it made no promises to the students, the students are sticking to their guns.
A student, who spoke to this publication on condition of anonymity, stated that the ministry asked them (students) to submit their letters of acceptance but now that the students have submitted those letters, the ministry is not responding. “What they are currently doing is not appropriate and to me that is very disappointing,” stated the student.
Kavetu said the students also said the institute is not conducive for studying. “Based on the analysis, as an organization, we believe that the money that the government is planning to invest on that college should be invested in the national training colleges in Namibia,” he said  Students left Loudima after raising concerns that they are being taught in French in some subjects, despite them not understanding the language.
The students have however agreed to the ministry’s call for a meeting with the students to establish the way forward regarding their return to Loudima. “We will go to that meeting but come hell or high water we will not go back to Loudima. We have endured enough suffering and it is better we stay home,” lamented the students. The students also added that if the ministry is not attending to their cry they will have to take it up with the President of the Republic of Namibia.
Meanwhile, NANSO secretary general Dimbulukeni Nauyoma remains hopeful that the ex-Loudima students will be funded. “It is our view that the ministry will fund these students to pursue their studies… and we had numerous discussions that we are still awaiting feedback on regarding these students and the case itself,” says Nauyoma.
The ministry said 76 students returned from the Loudima Institute for Technical and Vocational Training while 11 opted to remain.

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