5 000 Engineers Needed to Achieve Vision 2030

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By William Mbangula Oshakati Science and technology must become dependable interventions in life by rendering knowledge and ability for self-development. This call was made by the Chancellor of the University of Namibia (Unam) and Founding President of Namibia, Dr Sam Nujoma, during the graduation ceremony of the Unam Northern campus and Ogongo Agricultural College where 260 graduands received certificates, diplomas and degrees. The event was held at the Ongwediva Trade Fair Centre on Thursday, April 26. Nujoma said Africa’s main problem was lack of knowledge and technological capacity to transform the abundant natural resources that are available into tangible wealth. To do this, he added, Africa needs education and training. The know-how and education required in industrialization and in value-addition are obtained mostly from higher learning institutions. Said the Founding President: “This brings me back to the role of the universities as centres for human resource-development and knowledge-creation which are necessary to direct Africa, including Namibia, along a path of sustained economic and social development. The many students I see here today, is a step forward along that path.” He told his audience that the nation is relying on Unam and other institutions of higher learning and members of the society endowed with knowledge and skills in research and other competencies, not only to produce academic research papers and human resources for the labour market but also to advise government on employment and to generate strategies based on empirical research findings. Nujoma, who is also the president of the ruling Swapo Party, said the government, like many other people and institutions, must have the ability to learn throughout its life, continue adjusting to new challenges and create opportunities for social change and technological advancement. Quoting the old saying, he noted: “Feeding a man daily with fish is a noble gesture of kindness, but teaching him fishing skills is a lasting tribute of real empowerment.” Briefing his audience on the new development activities at Unam, Nujoma said plans to establish a Faculty of Engineering and Information Technology would require considerable resources in terms of capital development, laboratory equipment, workshop machinery and high-calibre teaching staff. A project of that nature, magnitude and complexity, he stressed, can only take off with financial and moral support from the government and development partners, including all those Namibians who continue to honour the pledges they made three years ago. It has been estimated that no less than 5ÃÆ’Æ‘ÀÃ…ÃÆ”šÃ‚ 000 engineers will be required for Namibia to achieve Vision 2030, a number which can only be achieved if the country trains its own engineers. Another area of development in which Unam is actively involved is the training of agriculturists and soil scientists through its Faculty of Agriculture and Natural resources. In this regard, the Chancellor expressed his satisfaction with the process of integrating the Agricultural Colleges into the Faculty of Agriculture and Natural Resources which is due to be finalized within a short time. Once integration is complete, it is expected to help diversify the services that Unam can offer in the training of experts in agriculture, forestry, crop science, animal husbandry and land management. The colourful occasion, which was opened with a prayer by Dr Shekutaamba V. Nambala of the Elcin Church and directed by the Head of the Unam Northern Campus, Paulina Uugwanga, was attended by, amongst others, the Chairperson of the Council of Traditional leaders in Namibia and King of Ondonga, Immanuel Kauluma Elifas, retired Elcin Bishop Kleopas Dumeni, Governors of Oshana Clemens Kashuupulwa, Omusati Sackey Kayone and Ohangwena Usko Nghaamwa, and millionaire businessman Frans Aupa Indongo, a recipient of a doctorate degree in business administration from Unam. Unam was heavily represented by its top three managers, namely: Vice-Chancellor Professor Lazarus Hangula, Pro-Vice-Chancellor: Academic Affairs and Research, Professor Osmund Mwandemele, and Pro-Vice-Chancellor: Administration and Finance, Zacheus Kazapua. Also present were the Chairperson of the Unam Council, Professor Phillemon Amaambo, and his deputy, Ndeutala Angolo Amutenya. The ceremony saw many graduands obtain qualifications in various fields such as HIV/Aids counselling, Mid-Level management, Basic Education Teachers Diploma, Adult education and community development, African Languages, Agriculture, Forestry, and nursing and midwifery sciences. Two Masters degrees in nursing science were conferred on Fiina Mhata and Eva Amakali. There were also two distinctions scored by Martha Eibes in Mid-Level management and Madelena Nepaya in Comprehensive nursing and Midwifery sciences.