Study loans for students studying abroad put on hold
The Board of the Namibian Students Financial Assistance Fund has decided to put the loans to students studying at some identified foreign higher learning institutions on hold pending the outcome of a visit to those institutions by a delegation from the Ministry of Education.
The delegation comprising officials from Namibia Students Financial Assistant Fund (NSFAF), Namibia Qualifications Authority, National Council for Higher Education, Health Professions Councils of Namibia and Engineering Council of Namibia will visit these institution next month.
According to Ambrosius Agapitus, Chairperson of the Namibian Students Financial Assistance Board, the fund arranged this visiting programme to strengthen mechanism of cooperation, acquaint itself with the relevance and the effectiveness of programmes offered by the foreign institutions and to negotiate favourable terms and conditions of cooperation.
He said these visits will enable the fund to give appropriate advice to current and future students.
“It’s upon the outcome of the envisaged visit which is to be undertaken in the month of April 2013 that the board of NSFAF would conclude the award of loans and grants for 2013 of the affected students. Students and guardians affected by this decision have already been notified. The fund will announce the outcome of the visits to the affected students not later than end of April,” he said.
He added the growth of the fund brought along new challenges in many respects such as lack of information related to the cost associated with tuition particularly from foreign institutions; credibility of institutions and their programmes; living conditions and general students welfare; student’s support in the form of attachments and internships; cultural dimensions and cooperation with institutions.
He further said that this year, a large number of students applied for financial assistance to study in some African countries, Asia, as well as Eastern and Western Europe. The majority of these students are intending to study in the field of Health Sciences.
“We encourage this trend because it will expose our students to different cultures and traditions. This will immensely benefit our country in the long run. Taking into account that Namibia has a limited number of institutions of higher learning, the fund has been providing financial assistance to Namibian students to study outside the country especially in disciplines which are not available or have limited spaces at local institutions,” said Agapitus.
In its effort to support Namibian students to access tertiary and higher education, the government established the Namibian Students Financial Assistance Fund in 1997 to offer financial assistance in the form of loans and grants to Namibian students to study at approved and recognised institutions both locally and internationally.
Since its inception, the fund has significantly expanded. From just over 1000 students benefiting from the fund in 1997, it has grown to over 55,000 beneficiaries last year. Since 2010, the average increase per year is over 50%.