By Surihe Gaomas WINDHOEK Signified as one of the most innovative and as Namibia’s first tailor-made degrees the Polytechnic of Namibia yesterday launched its Masters in International Business (MIB) degree. The two-year research-based programme, which started already last Sunday, is viewed as a way of addressing the challenges of building human resources development in a field that would boost the country’s economic growth. The launch of the new programme falls well in line with the tertiary institution’s theme of “Innovation for the Knowledge-based Economy.” So far seven participants from various ministries and businesses are taking part in the course. Addressing lecturers and students, the Minister of Trade and Industry Immanuel Ngatjizeko said such programmes would enhance the country’s competitive edge on the national and international arena mainly in the areas of trade, finance and entrepreneurship. “This in itself forms a Namibia-designed and manufactured product which will be competitive in the global market and attract foreign scholars to invest time and money to benefit the Namibian participants in the programme as well as the Namibian economy,” explained the trade minister. According to all three economic growth scenarios of Vision 2030, demand for the professional categories of labour will exceed supply across all sectors throughout the period from 2001-2030, and especially the demand in financial and business services will exceed supply. In view of this, the MIB programme is not only seen as an instrument of capacity- building, but it has the potential of creating future business leaders that can cope with this high demand. Furthermore, the minister noted that since there is a general global trend towards a new knowledge-based economy, local institutions should also undergo a tremendous shift in accommodating these changes as well. “More and more organisations worldwide are moving the focus of their training and education efforts away from one training event in a classroom, toward creating a continuous learning culture and in order to do so they make use of their same qualification frameworks as the educational institutions,” explained Ngatjizeko. Speaking at the same event the Governor of the Bank of Namibia Tom Alweendo stressed the importance of education saying that it is an important contributor to economic growth. “It is education that lifts people out of the state of chronic poverty in which they are constantly struggling to fulfil basic needs,” said the bank governor. Realisation was made that education should not only be seen as a social service, but in the wider spectrum of economic development where such education must be relevant and high quality. Commending the Polytechnic for the MIB degree course, Alweendo said that such a move is crucial as there is a “need to review existing programmes and introduce new and suitable ones for the business demands of the day”. In an ever changing borderless global business environment, the MIB programme was regarded as a long term goal in addressing the country’s manpower needs and economic prosperity. In the same vein the rector of the Polytechnic of Namibia Dr Tjama Tjivikua also pointed out the importance of nurturing a culture of quality education that stimulates intellectual skills and human capacity demands of today in the labour industry. “We need a culture of creative thinking and problem solving of innovation and invention and a commonsense of purpose and of success,” he added. Tjivikua noted with concern that the most problematic factor for doing business in Namibia is the “inadequate educated workforce, followed by poor work ethics and the national labour force”. However, human capital still remains the most important for development of the nation while at the same time fostering job creation. The two year programme costs N$65 000 and is based on international European and local standards.
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