Namibia Qualifications Boosted

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By Petronella Sibeene WINDHOEK In an effort to strengthen the recognition of educational qualifications between the two states, the Namibia Qualifications Authority (NQA) last Friday signed two Memoranda of Technical Cooperation and Partnership with Botswana qualifications based institutions. The signing of these agreements with the Botswana Training Authority (BOTA) and the Tertiary Education Council of Botswana (TEC) will streng-then capacity building in education and training. Minister of Education Nangolo Mbumba during the signing ceremony stated that neighbouring countries such as Botswana, South Africa, and Angola cannot best serve their people’s educational interests by developing educational systems in isolation. Though he could not provide figures, Mbumba acknowledged that in the past few years, the number of Botswana students enrolling at Namibia’s institutions of higher learning and vice-versa has increased. He described such mobility as a true fulfilment of the Arusha Convention, which recognises the mobility of students as a vehicle to the successful implementation of regional activities such as the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD). “Namibia should not be afraid of such mobility. Our people will return with greater knowledge, skills and readiness to continue to build our nation. Similarly, Namibian expertise will be making a difference in Botswana and our other neighbours,” the minister assured. According to Mbumba, franchise providers have become common in challenging quality assurance in education and training. Faced with such a scenario, it becomes apparent that learners are protected from the risks of misinformation and low quality provision and qualifications. This, the minister added, can only be done if national quality assurance agencies intensify their cooperation. While the idea of establishing formal relationships in the area of quality assurance in education was mooted during visits undertaken by the NQA to Gaborone over the past two years, the minister commended the NQA for the initiative taken especially when one takes cognisance of the responsibilities entrusted by the Government to the NQA. The NQA as per Act of 1996 is charged with establishing the quality assurance mechanisms that will apply to all education and training provision in the country. These responsibilities will assure the legitimacy and credibility of all formal certification of learning achievements in Namibia. Botswana High Commissioner to Namibia Norman Moleboge at the same occasion stated that the signing of the two agreements will further strengthen the capacity building of the two countries’ on education and training matters. Though Namibia and Botswana are middle-income countries with fragile economies and may not be in a position to offer each other technical support or financial grants, the two are capable of building their own human resources through existing educational facilities, he said. He added, “Within Botswana’s limited resources, we are willing to collaborate with our sister country Namibia in many fields that are geared towards improving the standard of living for our people. Education is one of those fields.” With the signing of the agreements, Moleboge has no doubt that this will add more impetus to the cordial relationship and cooperation that already exist between the two countries.