Sources in the know have it that Nanso, in alliance with SRCs from the university of Namibia and Namibia University of Science and Technology, are busy plotting underground to hold talks with the university leadership, with threats that should they[Nanso] not be granted an audience, a repeat of last year’s university lockdown can be expected.
In an interview this week, Nanso Secretary-general Dimbulukeni Nauyoma informed to The Patriot that a meeting has been scheduled to meet university bosses, he however did not give a date as to when the meeting will take place.
“We have scheduled meetings with the management of universities because we could not get hold of them last year as they closed earlier. The situation remains unbearable to students in terms of access to tertiary education thus we are trying to find mechanisms to ease fees for students,” Nauyoma said.
Nauyoma asserted that if no solutions are found before March 2017 regarding student accommodation, they (students under the guidance of Nanso) will erect “shacks” on campuses.
“This (erecting shacks) is not a threat, but opening doors for consultation and actions that must happen. Come March 2017 and there is no tangible solutions regarding student accommodation, those shack will be standing,” stressed Nauyoma.
Nanso met Minister of Higher education, Training and Innovation Itah Kandjii-Murangi last year to discuss the student accommodation.
The Nanso leadership will also meet Student Representative Councils (SRsC) of tertiary institutions to map the way forward and have a “common” voice before then sitting down with management of those institutions, Nauyoma said.
In a recent interview with The Patriot, Nanso Vice President Maitjituavi Kavetu said the current registration fees were still not “affordable” for students.
“Registration is currently not affordable therefore the problems from last year still exist,” said Kavetu.
According to Kavetu, Nanso will engage SRCs from both institutions (NUST and Unam) to hear their viewpoints before exercising the option of locking down the institutions in protest against the excessive fees.
“Last year we had a problem because SRCs from UNAM backed out (withdrew) of the protests leading the institution to take legal actions against Nanso,”
In 2016, UNAM dragged Nanso to court for staging a demonstration on the university’s premises. This, Kavetu says was a result of UNAM’s SRC withdrawing from the protest.
“This time around, we want to make sure that we are on the same page with all SRCs, because if they are at the forefront of this (varsity lockdown), institutions cannot take legal action against their own students,” added Kevetu.
The institutions of higher learning include the Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST), University of Namibia, College of The Arts (COTA) and the International University of Management (IUM).
According to Kavetu, there is a great sense of disappointment among students with most of them taking to social media and other platforms to accuse Nanso “betraying” because they are unable to register for free.
Nanso’s stance has always been that of free education for all Namibian and remains the case to this day.
Earlier this week, Nanso secretary for education and research Ashwell Forbes was quoted by local paper, New Era saying their silence should “never be confused for weakness”.
Forbes further warned that Namibian universities and councils both in the public and private sector “undermine” the strength of students because they are yet to “burn down buildings” and destroy property.
“Our message to universities is, never confuse of our silence for weakness and peace for fear. 2017 is a good year for the uprising of the Namibian student revolution,” added Forbes.
This year, general registration fees at the country’s biggest university, UNAM is N$6 650 whereas students at Namibia University of Science and Technology are expected to fork out N$3 500 for the 2017 academic year.
At the International University of Management, students will register for N$1 600, an amount that is four and two times smaller when compared to UNAM and NUST registration fees respectively.
At UNAM, registration fees is N$1 650 and an additional deposit on tuition fee amount of N$5 000 which Nanso labelled as “unreasonable”.
According to Forbes, Unam ranked among the most competitive universities around the globe because of the students it has and having high registration fees would mean “denying” them (students) access to education.
“The year 2016 through #universitylockdown# proved that our students are tired and fearless,” Forbes was quoted.
Moreover, NUST SRC president Oscar Mwandingi said they were currently engaging with the university’s management to best handle matter because most students are from the “poorest of the poor backgrounds”.
According to Mwandingi during an interview this week, most students are willing to clear debts accrued form previous academic years but have requested to be given time as they cannot afford the N$3 500 registration fee.