PDM youth to forge ties with SUN

By Paulina Ndalikokule

THE Popular Democratic Movement Youth League (PDMYL) will be collaborating with the newly established Students Union of Namibia (SUN) to fight for free higher education.

PDMYL national spokesperson Maximalliant Katjimune at a press conference on Tuesday said that PDMYL is of the view that registration fees at institutions of higher learning must be scrapped for students who passed Grade 12 and qualify for Namibia Students Financial Assistant Fund (Nsfaf) support.

“Registration fees should never be a barrier to university for deserving students. What we are saying is that if a student has an acknowledgement letter from Nsfaf then they should be allowed to register for free,” he said. Katjimune further said that the PDM youth league believes that education must be free, especially for students enrolled in key faculties such as science, engineering and medicine.

“PDMYL will therefore be in collaboration with student union bodies, such as the Students Union of Namibia to make it a reality,” he said. He stressed that the league chose to collaborate with SUN because they see it as the only organisation that genuinely represents the students, unlike Nanso, which is seen as a lapdog of the ruling party.

“We all know that Nanso is captured by Swapo, it is like a small branch of Swapo, we don’t want to work with people who have their own selfish motives,” Katjiume said.

The youth league of the official opposition party also rejected the planned introduction of KiSwahili in the the Namibian education curriculum on the basis that it would be hypocritical and unpatriotic for Namibians to master other languages while they lack knowledge of their own indigenous languages.

“We would like to make it clear that our rejection of the KiSwahili language should not be viewed as un-African but we are simply of the view that there are simply more important pressing matters at the moment that confront our basic education system,” Katjmune said.

The PDM youth suggested that instead government should focus on integrating learners to speak different Namibian languages. “It must be the aim of the government to ensure that Namibians are patriotic and learn a different mix of Namibian languages, rather than to introduce a language from a faraway country which has no significant and relevance to the ordinary Namibian,” he emphasized.      

Last week the Education Ministry executive director Sanet Steenkamp announced that the ministry will use this year to put all plans in place to introduce Africa’s most spoken language in Namibian schools in 2021. This comes after Cabinet last year directed the Ministry of Education to unlock the potential of introducing the language into the Namibian school curriculum.

Plans to introduce KiSwahili in local schools gained momentum during Tanzanian President John Magufuli’s visit to Namibia in May last year where it was proposed as an optional language. Despite mixed feelings from Namibians, the ministry said it will introduce KiSwahili in local schools next year.

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