The Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST) recorded 1 200 fewer student registrations this year compared to last year due to financial constraints and poor learner performance in the Grade 12 Namibia Senior Secondary Certificate (NSSC). Responding to questions sent by The Patriot, NUST Director of Communications and Marketing, Kaitira Kandjii, attributed the decline in student numbers to “financial constraints faced by returning and prospective students”, particularly those pursuing their studies on part-time basis. “These categories are mostly occupied by working students. It must be noted that the registration of new full-time students remains fairly stable but with a steady incline.”
“The Namibia University of Science and Technology has experienced a slight decrease in student registration for the year 2017 in comparison to 2016,” Kandjii noted.
Information availed to this paper by NUST shows that 12 700 students registered in 2016 compared to 11 500 that have registered so far in 2017.
“The reason for the decline in registration numbers is two-fold, firstly, the financial constraints faced by returning and prospective students, and secondly, the challenges in meeting the University’s admission requirements. The decrease in registration is mainly visible in the category of part-time and distance learning students,” added Kandjii.
Kandjii further noted that most returning students struggled to register at the beginning of the year due to debts they accrued in past academic years.
“In 2016, most students were allowed to register while still having an outstanding debt and no minimum deposit was required,”
“The accumulated amount, in addition to this year’s required deposit, was a burden for the students and negatively affected the number of re-enrolment,” Kandjii further explained.
Kandjii acknowledged that many students have been negatively impacted by the fact that they could not register due to financial difficulties.
Another reason that Kandjii also attributed to poor student registration at NUST to was the unsatisfactory grades that learners obtained in Mathematics and Science subjects during the 2016 Grade 12 examination.
“This year, NUST experienced a decline in school learners with satisfactory marks in Mathematics and Science subjects,”
“The institution’s main focus is on increasing the number of students in the STEM fields and an insufficient number of learners qualified for admission in these fields,” Kandjii concluded.
For the 2017 academic year, general registration fees at the country’s biggest university, University of Namibia (UNAM), stood at N$6 650 for Namibian students only (with Southern Africa Development Community and international students paying more than double) whereas students at NUST were expected to fork out N$3 500.
At the International University of Management however, students will registered for N$1 600, an amount that is four and two times smaller when compared to UNAM and NUST registration fees respectively.
At the time of registration, NUST Student Representative Council President, Oscar Mwandingi, told this paper that they were currently engaging with the university’s management to best handle matter as most students came from poor backgrounds.
Mwandingi added that most students were willing to clear debts that they accrued from previous academic years and requested to be given time as they could not afford the N$3 500 registration fees.