The Namibia Students Financial Assistance Fund (NSFAF) and Welwitchia Health Training Centre (WHTC), yesterday signed an agreement to strengthen the existing relationship between them and to ensure efficient service delivery to Students at the Centre.
The Memorandum of Understanding was signed by NSFAF Acting Chief Executive Officer, Kennedy Kandume and WHTC Rector, Andreas Mwoombola at NSFAF Headquarters, Eros in Windhoek.
Kandume pointed out that the agreement will see NSFAF providing WTHC with the names of NSFAF-funded students immediately after the award process has been completed and to make tuition fee payments to the WHTC directly. The agreement will also allow NSFAF to timeously inform WHTC about students not qualifying for further funding. It will furthermore allow the fund to make payments within a reasonable time, after the apportionment of the National Budget by Parliament.
Kandume added that although they only signed the agreement formally yesterday, the two institutions have been collaborating in many areas. He maintained that NSFAF will provide loans for students to have access to all facilities and learning opportunities and attend all lectures. Students will also be freely allowed to sit for exams. In addition, NSFAF will prioritize non-tuition fees to ensure that students have access to other facilities such as transport and required studying materials.
Kandume added that 99 percent of the funds come from the government and NSFAF relies on the availability of funds it receives from the government. He reiterated that although there might be some rearrangement, NSFAF will commit itself to paying student loans on time.
“The payment for both tuition and non-tuition normally commences in April each year, soon after students signed the contracts with NSFAF. In a case where NSFAF finds itself without enough funds, the WHTC will be informed of other arrangements, to ensure that students sit for exams. NSFAF receives N$ 1.6 billion, which indicates that the demands are way more than the supply. NSFAF will assist WHTC students with the signing of contracts, so they must submit their loan applications in complete so that they can be approved as soon as possible to avoid late payments,” Kandume added.
He emphasizes that the fund assists those in need, adding that NSFAF has an interest in students but that the money given in the form of loans should be recovered.
“After students complete their studies, they should be in good communication with NSFAF to say they are working or not working. Once they start working they should pay back the money so that others be assisted in the same manner. When NSFAF came into operation, only N$3.6 out of N$ 9 billion has been cleared thus far. For all students to benefit, NSFAF is busy recovering debts. The challenge we are facing is that demand for financial assistance always outweighs the supply, resources are not always enough,” he emphasized.
He says that the institution will take steps as previously announced, to ensure that the loan money is recovered.
Mwoombola on his part expressed that the two institutions are important stakeholders of education, and that their main goal is to empower students through education. According to the MoU, WHTC is expected to avail all the required facilities for NSFAF-funded students to always complete their studies and to further allow the students to write examinations in accordance with the institution’s timetable. The centre is also required present NSFAF with students’ proofs of registration and academic results, each academic year.
“Education is a very expensive exercise. The money is not going into our pocket; it is to capacitate finance to train Namibians. All the Namibian kids need to be educated. It is never too late or old to be trained with the relevant skills that you want. The goal is to have an educated nation that would create job opportunities for other,” Mwoombola stressed.