By Frederick Philander WINDHOEK The former Secretary-General of the Namibia Youth Council (NYC), Ralph Blaauw, was among the first 13 Namibian leadership students to graduate from the newly-established African Leadership Institute (ALI) on Friday, during a posh gala evening at the Nampower Convention Centre. The guest speaker for the evening was the Minister of Education, Nangolo Mbumba, and a host of invited guests from the church, business and education fraternities. The ALI was established to train and equip government, business and church leaders to transform Africa by taking responsibility for the continent by training young African leaders. “You have now become cadet leaders in the history of the world after a short period of time in which your minds and bodies have been transformed and shaped for the challenges that lie ahead. Namibia is very proud of you and your achievements,” said Mbumba. The minister encouraged the new leaders to put their hearts and souls into their new operational fields. “I would hope that every one of you who graduated will put your whole selves, your souls, into the matter of seeing that people you put in positions of leadership – not merely the man you nominate for president or for governor, but the person you select as a precinct worker right down the line, have a purpose for which to work and the leaders, including yourselves, to make the programme work,” Mbumba stated. He expressed the government’s gratitude for private efforts to help train and improve education in general in the country. “Many Namibians have for the past several years been earnestly praying for a more reliable, effective and efficient education system for the country, something the government has been striving for over the years. Our economic and global leadership depends on having the finest education system possible. Many of our high schools are providing outstanding education, with outstanding teachers, visionary administrators and quality resources. Some schools are amazing success stories and make for great news,” the minister said. He however informed the audience that the government has every reason to be concerned about the education system. “It is not as good as it could be for thousands of students. There are many schools that allow students to go through the system without teaching them much. Too many of our students also leave school without the skills to compete in a global economy,” Mbumba warned. “Quality, useful, constructive and broad education for all our citizens is an integral part of our government’s Vision 2030. For this reason, government recognizes the importance of qualified teachers in all our schools throughout Namibia. In order to achieve this, the government has encouraged all teachers to improve their qualifications. Equipping our future leaders with knowledge and skills, which will enable them to influence change, will make them the driving force for the growth and progress of our country and the continent of Africa,” he said. The African Leadership Institute (ALI) was founded by a Namibian, Dawie Fourie.