By Eliaser Ndeyanale
UNIVERSITY of Namibia and the Higher Education Ministry may be heading for another showdown with student protesters, as it emerged this week that Unam fees for 2017 are expected to increase by 10 percent or more.
Sources closer to the matter told this publication that the cash-strapped university will increase its tuition fees, already deemed exorbitant, by at least 10 percent considering that there has been no fees increase this year on a directive from the Minister of Higher Education.
“The fees for next year will go up by 10 percent or more since the university wanted to increase them by 15 percent last year but was blocked by the minister,” the source said.
Last month a local daily reported that students owe the institution N$255 million for 2016 alone and students have been told to settle their accounts by September 30. Unam has also indicated that it would not to allow students who are in debt to write their upcoming examinations. Registered students are not the only ones Unam is gunning for; the institution is also taking those who dropped out without finishing their qualifications university about N$50 million. to debt collectors. University dropouts owe the
Early this year student leaders at Unam and the Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST) closed down campuses following the proposal in fees increase by the two leading national institutions. They staged mass protests demanding that university fees be reduced and their debts be written off.
During that time NUST vice chancellor Professor Tjama Tjivikua said the university was owed about N$90 million by the Government for the 2015 financial year and student debt stood at N$50 million for the same period.
Asked whether there will be an increase in university fees by 2017, Higher Education Minister Dr Itah Kandjii-Murangi refused to comment.
“Well, I am not in a position to tell you anything now. That is only what I can tell you,” she said.
NUST spokesperson Kaitire Kandjii said only the NUST council will decide on whether the fees are going to increase or not.
“We have no clue because the university council has not met and it’s only them who can decide whether to increase the fees or not,” said Kandjii.
This year Government allocated the Ministry of Higher Education N$3.9 billion of the 2016/17 national budget which some analysts said was not enough.
Namibia National Students’ Organisation (Nanso) secretary general Dimbulukeni Nauyoma said they were not aware of a tuition fee increment but they are scheduling a meeting with university management of all campuses in the country to discuss issues pertaining to students, particularly fees and accommodation.
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