WINDHOEK, 17 MAY – The Namibia National Students Organisation (Nanso) has urged students who obtained loans from the Namibia Students Financial Assistance Fund (NSFAF) to pay back such loans in order to sustain the fund.
This call comes at a time when the student fund is embroiled in a leadership squabble and is unable to recover N$ 1.7 billion it paid in student loans or grants between 1997 and 2010.
Nanso’s Secretary General (SG), Simon Taapopi told a media briefing on Thursday that employed NSFAF beneficiaries are obliged to repay the loans in order to sustain the fund and allow other needy Namibians to benefit.
“Students have an obligation to repay these loans, because existing laws say so. But there must be a clear indication of how the debt recovery process of NSFAF deals with that,” he added.
Taapopi stressed that those repaying these loans should do so without suffering economic hardships, while others ought to be accorded ample time to get employment.
The student leader could, however, not clearly state its role in NSFAF’s loan recovery process or how it intends to encourage the beneficiaries to repay the money.
In the past, the former leadership of Nanso advocated that students should not repay their loans as this would commodify tertiary education, indebting them.
Approached for comment, Nanso’s former SG, Dimbulukeni Nauyoma maintained that position.
“That gear never changes. It was our position five years ago and why change that now? We maintain that position. Education must never be commodified,” said Nauyoma.
Using an example of NamPower, Nauyoma said: “If you get a study loan from NamPower, you are compelled to work for them for a certain period. That way, you repay with your service. How then about those who were loan recipients from NSFAF and are employed in the public sector? Why treat them differently?”