KEETMANSHOOP– The University of Namibia (Unam) last Friday held a ground-breaking ceremony in Keetmanshoop to establish its 13th satellite campus in the country.
Following extensive consultations with various stakeholders, Unam and its Chancellor President Hifikepunye Pohamba jointly decided to embark on a process to establish a campus to be located in Keetmanshoop. It is envisaged that the Unam Southern Campus will in all likelihood be built in phases over a number of years, since there is not sufficient funding for the construction in one go. Currently, funds for the campus are raised through the hosting of gala dinners and pledges from corporate Namibia. The Keetmanshoop Municipality through the office of the regional governor donated 60 hectares of land for the construction of the campus, which is expected to specialize in geo-sciences. Geo-scientists study and map the distribution of rocks exposed on the surface of the earth. They look at how they are folded, fractured and altered by geological processes and determine their ages and field relations. This enables the production of geological maps and databases, which are the basic tools underpinning the utilisation of all geological resources. Geoscience provides the knowledge and understanding of how energy resources such as oil and gas, coal and uranium are formed and where they may be found – key information for the design of cost-effective exploration programmes. The geosciences also involve the search for sources of geothermal energy. Several types of rock act as heat reservoirs and in many parts of the world this heat is used as an energy resource.
According to President Hifikepunye Pohamba the generosity of the local authority council and individuals who made contributions towards the establishment of the campus, will enhance equitable access to education in the country. “I would also like to take this opportunity to call on all stakeholders in the education of our nation, especially the private sector, to continue supporting and working together with our education institutions,” he said. He urged the university to conduct research and to identify innovative ideas to add value and harness the full potential of the country’s natural resources that are found in the //Karas Region, as well as other regions to improve the living conditions of all people.
“I have no doubt that once completed this facility will play a pivotal role in contributing to the social and economic development of our nation, and more especially in the //Karas Region,” said the president. He said young people would no longer have to travel long distances in order to access and pursue higher education once the construction of the campus is completed.
“It is government’s intention to ensure that Unam and other institutions of higher learning in the country provide our young people with the necessary knowledge and skills. This will enable them to better utilise our natural resources, through value-addition,” explained Pohamba.
Vice-Chancellor Dr Lazarus Hangula said the signal is being sent to the youth to tell the whole nation that the future of the Unam Southern Campus looks bright and he wants to make it clear that the institution will start its activities come January 2014. He said he is looking forward to the partnership with industry, the Ministry of Education and the National Planning Commission (NPC). “We do so not because we are not grateful, but because we know how valuable they are to our country and to our collective efforts towards reaching our set national dream – Vision 2030,” he said.
The people that New Era spoke to said they are very proud of seeing an institution of higher learning opening in the southern region. Member of Parliament and RDP member Clara Gowases said: “I have mixed feelings. I am very proud and very happy for the development on the education level in the //Karas Region. I’m very happy. Learners who wish to pursue their education would not have to travel that far anymore.”
“We as future leaders appreciate the government’s efforts to bring education closer to the people,” said Martha Mumbala a Grade 10 learner at J. Nell Secondary School in Tseiblaagte in Keetmanshoop.