By Reagan Malumo
Moments of jubilation and celebration overwhelmed trainees and their families following a graduation ceremony at which 41 trainees received certificates and diplomas over the weekend at Zambezi Vocational Training Centre.
The first of its kind in the history of the training centre, the graduation ceremony coincided with massive technological transformation by the Luxemburg Cooperation to make the centre a place of educational excellence.
According to the acting principal of the centre Gerrie de Villiers, Luxemburg Cooperation provides huge financial contributions and mentorship. It supplies the centre with the most modern infrastructure and state-of-the-art machinery and equipment.
De Villiers said the centre started with 36 trainees studying three vocational trades in 1993 and augmented its enrolment over the years to 200 students with 15 full and part-time instructors teaching six distinct vocational trades.
She urged the graduates to be grateful to the centre and especially that they now earn the right to be self-employed. “You are now skilled artisans, go out into the world of craftsmanship and open your own businesses,” urged De Villiers, stressing that the theme for the first graduation is “skills development towards the attainment of vision 2030”.
She indicated that the theme denotes the centre’s enthusiasm in addressing transformation by expanding traditional training activities into informal training and small and medium enterprise development to meet community demands through market-oriented courses.
About 15 trainees received qualifications in clothing production, eight in joinery and cabinet making, 16 in secretarial and administration and two in business practice.
Deputy Director of Vocational Education, Daniel Ngondji, urged the vocational training centres country- wide to build a strong foundation and enabling environment for the country to achieve Vision 2030.
He stressed that since independence, vocational education has increased drastically in order to transform society. He said that the Luxemburg Cooperation has been working on a project to upgrade the Zambezi Vocational Training Centre with the intention to transform the Caprivi Region into a knowledge-based society.
The project is in its second year. Upon its completion, the Government aims to relinquish its control of the centre to make it a semi-autonomous institution. He said that the Ministry of Education has formulated a project unit through the Namibia Qualifications Authority to take care of curriculum development for all vocational training centres.
Ngondji applauded the Zambezi Vocational Training Centre for providing public skills and equitability and urged the graduates to be dedicated, accountable and committed towards the attainment of economic development.
“You are now beginning the new chapter and you must increase the level of quality,” concluded Ngondji.
Meanwhile, the Director of Education in the Caprivi Region Lovemore Lupalezwi thanked the centre for playing a leading role in developing students in the areas of Information, Communication and Technology (ICT).
He urged the centre to continue to support income-generation and demand-driven courses.