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Only 477 students graduate from Nust for 2022

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ONLY 477 students graduated from the Namibia University of Science and Technology (Nust) this year.

The institution has launched an investigation into the high failure rate.

This comes as the university recently decided to review students’ marks when they score from 45% to 49%.

Nust this week, however, denied claims of lowering its pass mark of 50%.

“The low progression rate of Namibian students is a national problem, which is being investigated to implement informed mitigation efforts.

“The decision by Nust’s management is therefore not new to academia,” a statement by the university’s vice chancellor, Erold Naomab, reads.

The record high failure rate for 2022 saw the highest number of graduates (63) obtaining a bachelor’s degree in accounting.

According to the university’s statistics, only one in 254 students graduated in each of 22 courses the university offers.

The institution says its decision to review some students’ marks is explained in their examinations and procedures manual of 2018, which grants the university’s senate these powers.

“The decision to review borderline cases was therefore taken with due adherence and consideration of quality and the integrity of the qualifications that Nust awards, and is in line with best practice at all leading institutions of higher learning,” reads the statement.

In an advertorial issued by the university yesterday, Nust states that the assessing and reviewing of students’ borderline marks is an ordinary academic progression activity.

“In most cases, students would initiate such a review, or the management would initiate it based on the skewed distribution of results, where students are either passing ‘too much’ or performing too poorly.

“During such review, a head of department has it within his or her power to assess whether a student qualifies for review of their case based on predetermined criteria,” the advertorial reads.

STRONGLY CONDEMNED

Student’s Union of Namibia president Benhard Kavau in a statement yesterday said the union strongly condemns Nust’s move.

He says the union believes this will compromise the quality of education.

“We are shocked that even though Nust is funded by the government in addition to student funding through the Namibia Students Financial Assistance Fund, they still can’t find a solution to student failure rates,” he said.

Kavau said Naomab should lead, otherwise Nust would be a laughing stock nationally and internationally.

“We expect Nust registrar Sifiso Nyathi to do better under his leadership. He must not turn Nust into a kindergarten or ‘Mickey Mouse’ university.

“He introduced summer and winter schools to provide extra attention to all students to achieve high standards,” he said.

Kavau said all institutions should meet the standards of quality which are monitored by the Namibian Qualification Authority (NQA).

“By introducing a system that lowers standards, Nust will be undermining the national standards set by a regulatory body,” he said.

Kavau said the proposed decision would demotivate students and encourage them not to take their studies seriously.

Furthermore, the proposed system could make students vulnerable to some academic staff members taking advantage of them by either asking students to pay in kind or cash to have a compensatory mark.

“It must be on record that this is the first time such news is surfacing in Namibia. It is a shame that such a big university led by good calibre academics wants to lower standards,” he said.

Kavau said the labour market requires high standards.

“With watered-down pass marks or standards, the labour market/employers would not take you seriously.”



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