Wednesday 21 April 2021
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UNAM’s San students marginalized ahead of exams

Delays or defaults in university fee payments of San students at the University of Namibia(UNAM) are causing problems to both parents and students despite government having committed to settle the fees.
San students at UNAM who depend on the Marginalized Communities Division in the Office of the President to pay their tuition fees are currently stranded with only two weeks before the examination commences. Many have no books while non-tuition fees and allowances have also not been paid for the past two months.
The Patriot spoke to several students who preferred anonymity in fear of victimization. They said government’s dilly-dallying attitude when it comes to honoring its funding commitment is placing their future in limbo.
Earlier this year, the students were informed that the division has decided to do away with inter-account transfers. Inter-account services are transfers that the division used to fund for students’ meals and books.
For the past two months, the marginalized students have not received any funds to buy books, make copies, let alone eat on campus which subsequently leaves them to attend class on empty stomachs.
The students have since sought for a solution from the division.
“We were told that they do not have a budget for us any longer and that they were in the process of passing on the division and its responsibilities to the Namibia Students Financial Assistance Fund (NSFAF).
Our question is, what are we supposed to do during this migration process? We cannot do anything without books and food especially now that we are starting exams,” said one of the concerned students.
The students say they were invited to submit quotations for the books they need for their studies but nothing has been done since then in terms of procuring the books.
Correspondences seen by this newspaper between the disgruntled students and the division indicate how students have been begging the division to communicate the way forward.
“For how long must we study on empty stomachs? How do we write exams without books and should we fail, will they pay for us to repeat. Life has really become hard and we just do not know what do,” said another student.
“We have tried to follow the chain of command by going through the right channels but they just keep playing delaying tactics. Some students have dropped out of school because of this situation.
Especially those in their first year, we do not want them to resort to crime or prostitution because they are very vulnerable. One cannot even call home because we know our parents cannot fund our education as they are unemployed,” another student said.
Deputy Director of the Marginalized Communities Division in the Office of the President Gerson Kamatuka confirmed the delay in payments saying “we all know that we have a bit of a financial crisis in the country and that is the main reason payments were delayed.”
Kamatuka, while urging students to remain patient, said the payments are being processed and all allowances will be paid out end of May. He also indicated that his office has engaged UNAM on the matter.
“We asked students to submit book quotations and those who did so received their books,” said Kamatuka. He urged those who do not have their books but submitted quotations to follow up with the office as he does not have submissions on his desk that are not attended to.
At the moment, we are busy with an integration process that will see some of the students who now meet NSFAF criteria being integrated into the fund.
We are not doing away with the division.
We understand the inconvenience caused by the delay and promise to settle all arrears by end of May 2018,” he said.

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