Rundu — Fifty-five Namibian medical students studying pharmacy and dentistry at Russia's First Moscow State Medical University are on temporary expulsion over pending tuition fees - and they have been given a 30-day deadline to settle the amount or face permanent expulsion from Russia, New Era can reveal.
The Ministry of Health and Social Services has confirmed the students' plight.
Namibian students were apparently sent to Russia for their medical studies to help the country mitigate the shortage of pharmacists, dentists and dental assistants.
In the letter sent to the students they were informed that those affected will not be allowed to sit for their exams, nor will they have practical classes and lectures starting from Tuesday.
The affected students, supported by hundreds of other Namibians studying in Russia, went to the Namibian embassy in Moscow for help.
"The ministry of health failed to pay our tuition fees that were due to be paid on the 1st of September. The university in an official letter given to us says we can no longer attend classes due to outstanding tuition fees," said one senior student at the university who requested anonymity.
Those affected are funded through a scholarship program of the Ministry of Health and Social Services.
Yesterday, New Era spoke to acting permanent secretary in the Ministry of Health and Social Services, Bertha Katjivena, who said the ministry has been in the news in recent weeks for poor service but is aware of the students' ordeal and sorting out the issue.
"Yes, I am aware of the situation - we had a discussion with our embassy in Russia on Tuesday and are currently addressing it. It's more about the payment process," Katjivena said.
She could however not tell this reporter when the payments would be finalised and how much the ministry owes the university.