WINDHOEK– President Hifikepunye Pohamba wants the Polytechnic of Namibia Council and management to work hand-in-hand with the Ministry of Education to ensure the implementation of the Cabinet resolution on the renaming of the institution to the Namibia University of Science and Technology.
In a speech delivered on his behalf by Dr David Namwandi, the Minister of Education during the Polytechnic graduation ceremony on Friday, the president said the resolution compels the Polytechnic of Namibia to “retain the current mandate for a period of five years, while the holistic plan is being developed to establish an institution to cater for diploma and certificate level qualifications.”
“The plan should include the areas of specialisation, staffing, facilities, equipment, costs and other matters. It is in this regard that the development trajectory of the Polytechnic is highly commendable,” Pohamba said. The Head of State further lauded the institution’s efforts to strategically reposition itself as a leading university in the field of science and technology, not only in Namibia, but in the SADC region and beyond. He noted that this is a critical area, given the importance of such fields in driving innovation, economic growth and development. Pohamba also commended the institution for its introduction of new programmes in the natural and health sciences, computing and informatics, design and space sciences, which has brought about an increase of more than 65 percent in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics programmes as a percentage of all programmes offered.
PoN was further urged to create an environment for ideas to flourish, by establishing a school of creative ideas to encourage and facilitate the commercial evaluation and development of bankable business ideas and innovations. “In this manner, researchers and innovators can be linked together in order to generate new ideas and form viable collaborations. “[Since] participation in the global economy is crucial it is important that we upscale our country’s science and innovation agenda more than ever before. By strengthening the capacity for research and development, we shall strengthen our economy and build a better future for our children,” noted the president. He also called upon tertiary institutions to take the lead in spearheading the nation’s development efforts through science, technology and innovation. He urged the graduates to use their skills to make positive contributions to the country’s development in their respective areas of competence and specialisation.
“Those who might not secure employment immediately, I urge you to be innovative and entrepreneurial. Initiate projects that can generate incomes and employment for yourself and your fellow citizens. That is how countries are built,” he said. Namwandi said he does not want to see any graduate on the streets joining the army of the unemployed, and urged them to rather expand the labour force and create wealth. He was referring to the 903 students who graduated from the Polytechnic of Namibia on Friday during the second graduation ceremony. The first graduation ceremony was held in April this year when 1728 students graduated.
By Albertina Nakale