Windhoek — The Minister of Education, Nangolo Mbumba, this week launched the third session of the Namibia Student Financial Assistance Fund (NSFAF) and welcomed new members to the board.
The NSFAF started operating in 1997 to provide financial assistance in the form of loans or grants to eligible students at approved institutions of higher learning and to recover monies from beneficiaries upon completion of their studies.
The NSFAF is a loan/grant scheme designed to replace the Public Service Bursary Scheme, which aimed to train people to work solely in the Public Service. The operations of the NSFAF were approved by Cabinet in 1996 and implemented with effect from January 1997.
The NSFA Act 2000 (Act No. 26 of 2000) was promulgated in December 2000.
In terms of the Act financial support is provided to deserving Namibian students primarily on the grounds of their geographic location and priority fields of study. To date the Ministry has awarded 29 220 loans or bursaries to Namibian students to the value of N$271.8 million, of which an amount of N$30.6 million has been repaid to the Fund.
Minister Mbumba said the Fund is one of the most important institutions that will enable the country to achieve Vision 2030, prescribing Namibia to be a knowledge-based economy by 2030.
"We need to achieve this so that we can realise the dream of Namibia having overcome the problem of abject poverty now afflicting the nation as well as the scourge of the HIV/AIDS pandemic presently devastating not only our human resources, but the economy as well which relies for effectiveness, purely on the skilled personnel that we are now losing in disproportionate numbers," Mbumba said.
He urged the new Board and the secretariat of the Fund to redouble their efforts to contribute to the realisation of Vision 2030 through the provision of requisite skills required to make Namibia a knowledge-based society.
The mission of the Fund, he said, was to produce men and women with relevant knowledge, skills and competencies for both the public and private sectors in Namibia.
"The vision of the Fund is to provide Namibia with pro-active, innovative, creative and competent human resources by assessing students for quality education programmes at quality and accredited tertiary institutions through sustainable and equitable funding, thereby not only empowering the citizens of the country but also contributing significantly towards Namibia's economy," he concluded.
-Application forms for loans/bursaries from the Fund are obtainable from the NSFAF office at Government Office Park in Windhoek, as well as the Ministry's regional offices. The closing date for applications is October 31 each year.