Poly students to boycott registration next week

Undergraduate and senior students of the Polytechnic of Namibia (PoN) plan to boycott academic registration next week if their demand is not met for the deposit on tuition to be reduced.

The deposit on tuition is N.dollars 3 500 and includes a non-refundable registration fee of N.dollars 1 210.

Last year it was N.dollars 3 000 of which N.dollars 1 100 was for registration. In 2013, the deposit on tuition was N.dollars 2 200 of which about N.dollars 900 went towards registration itself.

The students held a protest at the main campus on here on Monday, demanding that the 16.67 per cent increase in the deposit on tuition, commonly referred to as the registration fee among students, be reduced before the institution’s academic registration.

New students should register between 21 and 30 January, while a self-help registration via the Internet for senior students is open from 12 to 21 January.

Student Representative Council (SRC) member for Academic Affairs, Samuel Ndungula said during the protest that the increase in the deposit on tuition fee places a burden on students – a burden which they should not have to bear.

He said the burden is even heavier because of the two-part registration system which is customary at the PoN, whereby students are required to register for the first semester in January and again in June for the second semester.

“We do not think that it is fair to constantly make the students absorb the institution’s deficit by charging them more. Students should not be held accountable for management and government complacency,” Ndungula said.

The students duly handed over a signed petition to the PoN administration, in which they requested that the fee be reduced by at least 50 per cent to allow all students to register.

“The only compromise we are willing to accept outside negotiations is that if the current fees are to remain intact, then the payment should be made only at the beginning of the year as opposed to subjecting students to a double payment each year,” he said.

The students further demanded that the PoN consider reducing its management’s remuneration and subsistence and travel (S&T) allowances, which will allow the institution to increase the tuition fees annually with a reasonable percentage, and inform students in advance.

The PoN’s Director of Communications and Marketing Kaitira Kandjii received the petition on behalf of Rector Tjama Tjivikua, and said the petition will be forwarded to Tjivikua who would respond appropriately before the end of this week.

He was, however, hesitant to disclose the reason why the fee was increased, but said the institution will issue a statement in that regard in due course.