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Reprieve for Unam students

Disgruntled students from the University of Namibia whose examination dates were unceremoniously changed during the December holidays have been given the choice of writing their rescheduled exams at any Unam centre closest to them.
The move by the University comes after students complained of changes to some second opportunity examination time tables. The University was adamant last week that it had sent notices to affected students via post, however most students claimed they only received the notices when they had returned to Windhoek for their exams.
The public relations officer of the University, Utaara Hoveka said this week that Namibian students who are not from Windhoek can go back to their home towns and write their exams at a Unam centre close to them. Those from the Northern part of the country could, for example, go and write at the Oshakati campus, he said.
Although confirming changes made to some time tables, Hoveka, sought to shift the blame on the university’s computer system that inexplicably pushed some dates forward. “The system threw out two dates and we are trying to establish how it happened,” said Hoveka.
Asked what steps the institution took after noticing the problem, Hoveka said: “we informed the students via post and sent out public service announcements to nbc radio, but whether they were aired or not, that normally depends on the station.” Hoveka added that he was not in the country at the time of the mishap, but he was informed that action was taken immediately.
Meanwhile, changed examination dates seem to be only but one of many problems facing the institution. Students were recently up in arms with the University after it unilaterally decided to terminate special examinations written by final year students who would have failed one module, to enable them to graduate in April.
Hoveka however rubbished such claims saying the University will still be having special exams but for the last time this year, adding that students who have one module behind and managed to score an average of 45% qualify to write in March.
Hoveka said that the reason why the university was doing away with special examinations is because they interfered with graduation ceremony preparations as some papers are sent as far as the UK and USA for moderation. “By the time the papers reach here, the preparations are already underway and it causes problems,” said Hoveka.
Hoveka added that the decision to end special examinations was taken during a formal meeting that  involved all academic committees including the student representative council.
Contradicting Hoveka’s statement, last year’s SRC president, Francine Muyumba told the Economist that her office did not receive any formal communication of this nature. “There was no formal communication to my office, and if they did, then it did not reach my office. But since it will only be implemented this year, maybe they will communicate it formally to this year’s SRC” said Muyumba.
The former SRC president urged the University authorities to make use of mass communication channels such as student meetings, the media, as well as letters to students via posts when communicating information of this nature.
Angered by developments at Unam, former SRC president, Job Amupanda wrote on his facebook wall saying that Unam is an “incompetent institution” that is being run by a “bunch of cowards.” In response to these remarks, Hoveka said that the University of Namibia is a credible institution with credible academics that deal with international partners all over the world. “If we were incompetent then we would not have these partners and I do not want to dwell much on that.”

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