By Hileni Nembwaya
THE management at the University of Namibia (Unam) Oshakati campus has put up a taskforce to work on the business plan and proposals for accommodation facilities following a student protest over lack of accommodation earlier this week.
The proposal for this project is said to be on the table for resource mobilisation.
Linus Hamunyela, the communications and marketing officer at Oshakati campus confirmed these saying that the northern campus is also seeking ways to emulate a public private partnership initiative which was successfully piloted at the main Unam campus in Windhoek.
“In terms of the agreement in which, Unam availed land while a private developer/investors had to come up with the financing to set up the facility and manage it for an agreed period of time. The campus has developed a business plan and proposals to build accommodation for students which have been submitted to the relevant committees within the University and external stakeholders,” said Hamunyela.
On Monday, lectures at Unam Oshakati campus were temporarily suspended following student action demanding the university to construct accommodation for students at the campus.
In 2014, the Oshakati town council availed land to Unam Oshakati campus intended for the construction of the school of medicine; however Unam did not honour its intended purpose and the land thus stands vacant.
Hamunyela said that the construction of the accommodation was delayed because in the past, the majority of the students at Oshakati campus who were mainly nursing students were previously accommodated at the nurses’ home at Oshakati Hospital, until 2013.
“When the Ministry of Health and Social Services informed us that they can no longer continue to provide hostel accommodation to the Unam students, a need to put up our own hostels became evident. It is under those difficult and trying times that we found ourselves in this situation and Unam was now left with no alternative but started looking for funds for our student accommodation.
“The Oshakati campus management has also asked the structure of the SRC on campus to have an accommodation committee. This accommodation committee is to help the students keep bringing to the fore, the need for accommodation, and also for the students to create a profile of all the safe private accommodation facilities available for students renting. This is all to create a conducive environment for student’s accommodation around campus, even if it is private,” said Hamunyela.
Asked about how much it will cost Unam to construct the student accommodation, Hamunyela could not state how much it will cost saying that will be determined depending on the number of beds to be provided, design and engineering services of the land.
“As soon as the bed capacity and size of the building has been determined, then the cost can be determined as well. Construction of the university hostel facility that meets the standard can require more resources sometimes, but we are very much now interested in any effort that can give us an affordable student’s shelter on campus,” he narrated.
He further added that the new hostel facilities will be able to accommodate as many students as possible.
Unam Oshakati campus offers courses such as computer science, nursing and public health, science foundation and English access programme with a student enrolment of more than 1 000.
The campus has also made history in the north by producing the best overall student who was bestowed a medal of academic merits, this year.
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