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NUST students protest university fees

Fri, 22 January 2016 06:42
by Rodney Pienaar

More than 250 students of the Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST) went on strike over increasing funds at higher institutions.

This morning, the angry crowd of students locked down all gates that lead it to the University to prevent NUST staff from entering the premises.

They demanded that registration fees be made free and all debts written off by the line Ministry of Higher Education and NUST. The average registration fee is N$1500 and tuition fees rise to N$3500 per semester.

According to the Student Representative Council Chairperson (SRC) Oscar Mwandingi, at meeting held last week between the (SRC) and the Permanent secretary (PS) of the Ministry of Higher Education, Training and Innovation, Alfred van Kan, an agreement was made to lower the fees but nothing was done as promised.

“Demands have changed. We agreed that the fees should be decreased but nothing was done, so we want them to abolish registration fees and for debts to be written off. I talked to van Kan this morning but he told me he cannot speak on behalf of the Minister,” Mwandingi stressed.

Tension arouse as the Vice Chancellor of (NUST) Dr Tjama Tjivikua came to negotiate with the SRC. Students started chanting, “This is not a close door thing. Down Tjivikua, down. Down registration fees, down."

Tjivikua than left the scene without addressing any of the students’ demands.

Some students that were at the protest were supposed to sit for supplementary examinations today, but had to miss them due to the strike.

Students put a proposal on table that those who could not sit for exams would be given a chance to write on Monday and that the striking students must not be victimised.

However, after a few hours Tjivikua came back to the scene of the protest with a verbal agreement that the students should register themselves even if they don’t have money and that all debts will be written off.

But the students refused and demanded that the agreement be written out in presence of all stakeholders.