By: Justicia Shipena
Higher education executive director Alfred van Kent says they are still unpacking how to integrate the students studying in Ukraine into local universities.
Many returning students have expressed their concerns about their future at the Hosea Kutako International airport on Sunday.
Namibia welcomed 23 students from Ukraine after they fled due to Russia’sRussia’s attacks in the European country.
“We will first have to establish their courses and their level. It is an issue that we are still unpacking and see how best we will deal with it,” said van Kent.
He said this is a new dynamic for the government to deal with, and thus, the ministry has begun to engage local universities in this regard.
“Last night, I contacted the University of Namibia (Unam), and throughout the week, we will try to engage all the universities,” he said.
According to him, they will have all the details of the students and continue to assist them in that manner.
“The academic years are difficult to compare as these students have already gone far into the year because their academic year ends in June,” he said.
In this vein, Van Kent said the ministry would also have to establish methods to help students in various programs.
“We have several institutions that we can use, and this depends on the programmes and support they will need,” he said.
He said they also plan to reach out to the association of private high education institutions in Namibia to bring their support.
“We are thinking about how best to deal with the situation.”
He further indicated that 33 Namibian nationals had already arrived in Namibia.
“We have another 14 that will arrive tomorrow. The majority of them are out of Ukraine, but there are still a few that we are still trying to identify, but we know that there four or so stranded somewhere,” he said.
“We need to be very careful about bringing the nationals back.”
Touching on racism, he said no Namibian had experienced racism at the Uraikianan border.
“Nobody spoke about experiencing racism at the borders.”
Speaking to The Villager upon arrival, a student who spoke anonymously said the university where she attends school informed them that they are on holiday until 13 March 2022.
“The Namibian ambassador in Germany us that everything will be fine and they will find a way to settle with our education. I am in the sixth year, and I am also worried,” she said.
Moreover, Namibia Students Financial Assistance Fund (NSFAF) chief executive officer Kennedy Kandume told The Villager that the funded students would continue with funding despite enrolling into a new university.
“The budget provision is already there, and for those that NSFAF does not fund, we have to go back and look at how much we have and whether we can afford to fund for them should they continue this academic year,” he said.