By Anna Ingwafa
Hundreds of students from the Institute for Open Learning in collaboration with North West University of South Africa graduated in various areas of specialization last week at Ongwediva.
The students were conferred with Bachelor’s Degrees in Education, and Higher Education Diplomas and Advanced Certificates in Education.
Member of Trustco Group International and founder Chairman of the Institute for Open Learning (IOL) Dr David Namwandi in his speech congratulated the graduates for the courage and dedication they demonstrated in completing their studies.
Dr Namwandi announced that the IOL graduates have increased to such an extent that it is now necessary to take the graduation ceremonies to the students.
“This time around IOL graduation will take place in three regions, i.e. Oshana, Kavango and Khomas regions. These ceremonies are being held in Ongwediva, Rundu and Windhoek,” said Namwandi.
The total number of the graduates from these three places is 794.
In partnership with North West University of South Africa, IOL offers educational programmes focused on providing solutions to contemporary problems and challenges that are in line with the SADC Ministers’
The SADC Ministers’ commitment aims at ensuring the provision of quality education in the region, recognizing that mathematics, science and technology are critical for economic growth and development, strengthening collaboration in curriculum and teacher education development and a regional implementation plan of education and training teacher education, open and distance learning and secondary education.
He noted that IOL is the largest open and distance learning institution in Namibia operating in conformity with the above commitment.
“These three graduation ceremonies and the number of graduates is clear testimony that IOL is living up to its vision and mission. The IOL’s vision is to train in accordance with the needs and the components of the African puzzle.”
It aims at producing the correct solutions in the form of graduates who are fully equipped and functional and who can participate in the debate on the diverse economic, administrative, management, political and international
Namwandi told the graduates that they are challenged to help in finding a niche for Africa in the continent’s interactions with the world economy so that Africa can participate fully in the international economy, and help Africa by creatively and innovatively finding ways of enabling the continent to play its rightful role in the world economy and help to reduce the continent’s dependence on others.
Speaking at the same occasion was Potchefstroom Campus of North West University Vice-Rector Professor Louwes Maritz.
Maritz said the merging of the two institutions marked a fifth year and it is one of the most successful mergers of higher education institutions in the country. Through the collaboration of IOL and North West University an opportunity is provided for upgrading through distance learning of teachers in Namibia.
“It has been the intent to ensure that stability is maintained and that the academic performance of students and the research output of staff and students are maintained while changes were brought about in the structure and the management of the new university,” said Maritz.
The budget of the university is now in the region of N$1.5 billion and the Potchefstroom Campus, whereto the IOL students contribute N$900 million for the overall budget of the North West University. The faculty of educational sciences has an income of N$128 million for 2008 and is thus the faculty that makes the second most substantial contribution to the coffers of the university, according to Maritz.
Currently there are 30 study centres in Namibia managed by a full-time centre coordinator and offering contact sessions, and two vacation schools take place twice a year at each centre.
She concluded that the university is striving to and is committed to develop and deliver quality programmes and to make a positive contribution to the skills and competencies of teachers in the country.