Nam Students Return From Ukraine, Crimea

A GROUP of Namibian students returned home from conflict-ridden Ukraine and the Crimea peninsula on Tuesday, with the remainder expected on Sunday.

Close to 200 students will be evacuated by the Namibia Student Financial Assistance (NSFAF) before elections are held in Ukraine on Sunday, as confrontation intensifies between the new government and pro-Russian activists.

The Ukrainian ministries of education and health also issued a press release, requesting all universities to close on or before 20 May, which would mark the end of the current semester.

Despite this directive, 13 Namibian students have indicated their desire to remain in Ukraine while four others indicated that they will cover their own costs. NSFAF spokesperson Percy Tjahere said they are not aware of the reasons why some students opted to remain in that country.

In a statement on Wednesday, the fund announced that it will be evacuating all Namibians studying in Ukraine, irrespective of the students’ funding options. Furthermore, the fund has consulted all the students, informing them of the offer to repatriate them. Students signed an agreement that allows the fund to carry on with the repatriation process and to allow for the repayment on completion of studies.

On Monday, Minister of Education David Namwandi said government had done everything in its power to safely repatriate all the students home.

Namwandi said those who have opted to remain behind will sign forms, so that should anything happen to them during that period, no blame will be put on the ministry.

“Those who do not want to come, we have washed our hands off them,” he said. About 300 Namibian students are studying in Ukraine, of which 217 are said to be affected by the conflict. The government is expected to spend as much as N$5 million on flight tickets. The price of a one-way ticket from Ukraine to Namibia is currently about N$13 800.

Source : The Namibian