HIGHER Education Minister Itah Kandjii-Murangi does not appear moved by the resignation of chairperson of the Namibia University of Science and Technology (Nust), Esi Schimming Chase, and said that the tertiary institution will carry on as usual.
“We remain committed and we will continue moving the institution forward with the majority of the remaining council members. The council’s term is in any event coming to an end in August 2019, so there no real big lose to Nust,” Kandjii-Murangi told Informanté today in-between meetings.
Schimming-Chase’s resignation last week Friday comes amidst complaints by some members of the highest decision-making body of Nust of political interference in the institution’s affairs by the higher education minister.
Another council member, Markus von Jeney, also resigned along with Schimming-Chase after Kandjii-Murangi allegedly set in on a council meeting and allegedly dictated how the council should go about the appointment of a new vice-chancellor to replace Tjama Tjivikua.
According to well-placed sources, Kandjii-Murangi wanted the council to relook at the job requirements for a vice-chancellor that the council set and advertised last year as she felt that nobody else in the country, except for Tjivikua, would meet them.
“Tjivikua and Esi (Schimming-Chase) are close and the minister had fears that Tjivikua would come back as he is presently the only person in the country who can meet the requirements. So, the minister instructed the council to change them and to re-advertise the position to allow for other people to qualify. This did not sit well with Esi (Schimming-Chase),” said the source.
Some of the requirements for a new vice-chancellor include a Doctorate in the Science, Technology, Engineering or Mathematics fields from an internationally recognised university, with at least 10 years’ experience in a senior executive leadership role at the level of Dean or above in an academic institution or, at the C-Suite level (CEO, CFO, etc.) in an entity of a similar size and complexity.
“Esi, on the other hand, felt like the minister was trying to tailor-make the requirements for the job in order to rope in her preferred candidate. Each one was suspicious of the other’s intention,” the source added.
Vice-Chairperson of the council and now Acting Chairperson, Goms Menette, on behalf of the Nust council, said in a media release this week that last week Friday’s meeting served as a “final formal engagement before the lapsing of this term’ and that the council therefore requested the audience of Kandjii-Murangi.
Menette added that at the said meeting, the council discussed the recruitment of a substantive Vice-Chancellor, which will be finalised by the incoming council in September, amongst other things.
“The Nust Council would like to reassure all staff and students and the public at large, that the governance of the Institution remains stable and effective,” Menette further said, adding that the council will continue to give full support to the Executive Management and further reassures staff and students of active engagement and cooperation in the affairs of the university.
Schimming -Chase could not be reached for comment.