By Anna Shilongo
Two hundred and ninety-one students from the International University of Management were conferred with degrees, national diplomas, higher certificates and national certificates in different areas of specialisation over the weekend.
Parents and friends of graduates filled to capacity the NamPower Convention Hall where a jovial mood prevailed when students started receiving their qualifications.
Ululation from the parents was the music of the day, as parents and friends used their traditional ways of appreciation to congratulate their beloved sons and daughters, husbands, wives as well as friends for their achievements.
The University awarded 54 degrees in HIV/AIDS management and information technology (IT) amongst others. Further, over 200 students received certificates and diplomas.
The institute, which was then known as the Institute of Higher Education, has over the years transformed itself into the International University of Management.
The university offers a responsive educational environment focused on providing solutions to contemporary problems and challenges.
In her keynote address at the 6th graduation ceremony, Deputy Minister of Education Dr Becky Ndjoze-Ojo said IUM has developed, designed and offered educational programmes expediently in response to labour market demands.
The establishment of IUM came about as the country experienced the need for capable managers and for highly skilled information technology specialists.
The institution has gone a long way in addressing this, as many who received their education from IUM are currently working in both the private and public sectors.
She urged graduates to make use of their skills and the knowledge they acquired when they enter the job market.
Ndjoze-Ojo encouraged graduates not to give up with their education.
“Education is an endless process, it never ends. Education only gives you a different view to travel. You haven’t reached your destination yet,” she said.
One of the critical factors that would accelerate the attainment of the nation’s goals was education and training, she said, adding that it was pleasing to see that the graduates had gained skills to work not only in Namibia but also in the entire world.
IUM was the first institution in the world to offer a course on HIV/AIDS management, and other institutions followed suit.
“HIV/AIDS is affecting our nation, killing parents and the future of orphans left alone without care,” said the deputy minister.
She said for Namibia to achieve its sustainable economic growth and development, the country should mobilise its natural resources and strive to create workable solutions in all development endeavours.
“This is imperative because we know that no country or institution can operate in isolation. Namibia remains part and parcel of the international community, as such we must continue to improve the standard of our education in all faculties and academic disciplines,” she stressed.
The co-operation and assistance of business is vital when realizing our common vision for the country, she added.
“As you are all aware, the Government alone cannot achieve the goals of human resource capacity development. Indeed, the achievement of a shared national vision and objectives will depend on partnership if we are to emerge a wining nation,” said Ndjoze-Ojo.
Moreover, the deputy minister assured the ga-thering that her ministry would forever support the operations of IUM.
“The institution is expected to fill a gap in the provision of tertiary education in the country. It is my trust that IUM shall live up to this expectation, and maintain and subscribe to the Ministry of Education’s accreditation standards in its preparation of curricula,” she stressed.
Her ministry further expects greater coordination, collaboration and consolidation in the course design and course offering of institutions of higher learning in the country to avoid unnecessary duplication of courses.
She praised the institution’s programmes that were instrumental in
generating knowledge, enhancing technical capacities and broadening skills necessary to facilitate sustainable development in the country.
“My ministry looks forward to better articulation of courses between these institutions to ensure that there is transfer of courses between and amongst institutions of higher learning.”
IUM has 1 560 students.
At the same time, the Vice-Chancellor of IUM, Dr David Namwandi, pledged to deliver imaginative, innovative, knowledgeable and resourceful graduates.
Namwandi said the institution now looks to the future with fresh vision that blends the best of business traditions with the innovation necessary for success in a changing world.
“We will make a difference by the quality of our graduates, the relevance and excellence of our research and programmes, the inspiration of our creative graduates,” said Namwandi.
This year has recorded the highest number of students from 1 100 to 1560 this year.
The academic year 2006/2007 has witnessed significant positive changes. An increase in programmes on offer from 31 in 2006 to 119. Most of these courses are offered in association with other universities around the globe.
“We must take pride in the fact that IUM is now the first and only university in this country which exports services outside the nation,” he said.
Since the establishment of the University, Namwandi was confident that it had made significant strides.
“We want to be a nation of innovators and great thinkers. A nation that rejects to consume everything that others produce – this is the foundation on which this University is built,” said the vice-chancellor.