– Namibia can learn By Frederick Philander WINDHOEK There is a lot for Namibia to learn from the Chinese higher education system. This is the view of the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Namibia (Unam), Professor Lazarus Hangula. He and a delegation from Unam have just returned from China after a month-long visit where they took part in seminars on higher education. The trip, made possible by the Chinese government, was also aimed at drumming up financial and academic support for the establishment of an engineering faculty at a cost of more than N$650 million. “The Chinese government sees higher education as the key to the creation of a wealthy society based on know-how, professional training, capacity building, innovation and new products development,” Professor Lazarus Hangula writes in a report to the board of Unam. According to him, the seminar gave him and the 17 other representatives from other African higher education institutions a thorough insight into higher education in the People’s Republic of China. “At the seminar vice-chancellors discussed the challenges facing higher education and the possibilities of collaboration among Chinese and African higher education institutions. Although parents contribute significantly to their children at tertiary level in China, the bulk of the funds for higher education in that country comes from the government,” said Hangula, who also had talks with the Ministry of Commerce in China about possible assistance to Unam to set up a Faculty of Engineering and Information Technology in Namibia. In Hangula’s view, the Chinese government places great emphasis on cooperation with Africa. The report also cited that the intended new faculty will be able to train at least 40 students per year to help augment the present 500 professional engineers in the country. Negotiations for funding to erect the new faculty will be conducted with the National Planning Commission. In the meantime the Chinese university authorities have indicated their willingness to assist Unam in the provision of equipment and teaching staff once the faculty becomes operative at Unam.
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