Nam students in Zambia risk suspension

SEVEN Namibian veterinary scholarship students enrolled at the University of Zambia risk being excluded from writing exams and thrown out of the hostel because the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry is yet to pay their fees.
The students say the ministry is keeping them in the dark about progress on the payment of the first term’s grant, and say fees for the academic year 2013/2014 were in arrears since October last year.

One of the affected students told The Namibian that they have tried contacting the ministry’s training officer Clemens Kaseb to enquire about the funds, but were told the money, amounting to N$200 000, was deposited into a wrong account.

“We are wondering how that is possible because he (Kaseb) has been dealing with this for the past four years and we always provide him with updated information if there is any change. He keeps saying the bank is looking into it, and this has been happening for the past five months now since October last year,” said one of the students who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The students also say they have to study without textbooks because a South African company usually responsible for supplying them with textbooks did not deliver them.

The students say their quality of life on campus is being affected because the sponsorship covers everything from meals, transport, tuition fees and accommodation. Students also say they have pleaded with the university’s assistant dean of school to give them more time but were told they were given enough time to settle their debt.

“We are scared of being given the boot from the hostel, not to mention being barred from writing exams,” said the student.

The ministry’s spokesperson, Margaret Kalo, said the department responsible for paying out the student grants confirmed that the money was sent to the right account, but that there was an error because the funds were not reflecting on the recipient’s account.

“We transferred the money on 30 October 2013 to the account and received the proof of payment by the bank. We also received a letter from the students saying their tuition payment was late and Kaseb wrote a letter to the university with an attached proof of payment, yet the university says it has not received the money,” said Kalo.

She said the ministry’s accounting officer Hardley Uirab is working with the bank on solving the issue.

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