By Mungu Mutimani
Efforts by the University of Namibia to establish a faculty of engineering and information technology were given a welcome boost by the University of Oulu in Finland, following a high-level visit from that university.
Unam’s public relations officer Utaara Hoveka said the University of Oulu president, Professor Lauri Lajunen, recently led a nine-member delegation to Namibia.
He said that the university’s Faculty of Technology agreed to assist Unam to draft the curricula of the planned departments of electronics, telecommunication engineering and mechanical engineering in the envisaged faculty. This includes the drafting of an action plan that itemizes necessary exchange activities.
Under the accord, the University of Namibia will select suitable Namibians with engineering, mathematics and physics degrees for further training at the University of Oulu.
The selected Namibians will serve as teaching assistants to the courses that they will resume back in Namibia.
These courses will enable them to become familiar with the contents of the courses, course material, equipment, laboratory operations and teaching methodology, amongst others.
Hoveka said there would also be six to eight long professorial visits from Oulu University to Ongwediva.
Finnish professors would give lectures with assistance from Namibian lecturers who will assume responsibility for the courses in future.
He said the meeting between the two institutions stressed the need for potential Namibian engineering academics with a B.Sc. to obtain postgraduate training at Masters and PhD levels and that these studies are to be undertaken under the guidance of Finnish professors.
The two institutions will strongly encourage research assignments of the postgraduate students to be based on local needs.
Hoveka said meanwhile, the two universities also agreed to cooperate in the establishment of a fully-fledged school of medicine.
They agreed to explore the possibilities of exchange programmes for students, lecturers and experts.
The University of Oulu also agreed to assist the faculty of education in a number of areas, ranging from pedagogical training of academic staff, early childhood development, sharing of electronic resources, doing joint research, and offering join post-graduate courses, said Hoveka.