By Petronella Sibeene
Vocational training remains crucial in the development of marginalised people, the Minister of Education, Nangolo Mbumba, said.
Officiating at the graduation ceremony of 202 Ovahimba youths in Opuwo last week, the Minister said vocational training is one of Government’s priority areas.
The youth graduated after undergoing training in different vocational courses conducted by Woman’s Action for Development (WAD). Mbumba commended WAD saying that such courses allow an individual to acquire practical skills to create a product and can easily become self-employed.
The Minister said vocational education and training is one of the ways that would help Namibia move away from an economy that is heavily dependant on imported goods to an economy that is export-driven.
He also said that although there has been an increase in enrolment in vocational training centres, the number of learners interested in vocational training subjects at schools has decreased.
The situation prompted the ministry to phase out such subjects in schools. However, these subjects will be combined into one subject called Design and Technology, he said.
Mbumba said education plays a crucial role in the upliftment of marginalised and vulnerable people.
He added that in the knowledge based economy of today’s world, the future of any country that seeks to achieve economic development and social progress depends on people who are educated.
The Government introduced mobile schools to accommodate the nomadic lifestyles of the Ovahimba of Opuwo in the Kunene Region.
“Government will continue through its Poverty Reduction Strategic Action Plan to develop and uplift rural communities and marginalised groups such as the Ovahimba and the San people of Namibia,” the Minister said.
The youths graduated in computing, needlework and tailoring, bread and baking, household business, paralegal, hygiene and nutrition training courses.
“I urge the students, the parents, and representatives of WAD to forge a common national agenda in order to improve the living standards of all Namibians,” Mbumba said.
WAD Executive Director, Veronica de Klerk, urged the youths not to get embedded in cultural traditions and in the process inhibit their growth and smooth assimilation into the rest of the country.
She said although the Ovahimba contribute towards the beautiful cultural diversity of Namibia, education is one way through which the young people can break away from the conditions of continuous poverty.
“I wish to caution you that if you fail to break away from the conditions of poverty, you may just become the next generation of people trapped in time and only admired and photographed by tourists for your ancient way of living,” she added.
Although the organisation could only train 202 unemployed youths, De Klerk said a project proposal for empowering the Ovahimba has already been sent to New Economic Partnerships for African Development (NEPAD) through the Spanish Embassy.
Training of the Ovahimba youths comes after two British tourists donated N$100???_?_’???_?’???_???