Unam VC’s term ends in June

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New council members… From left, Dr David Uirab, Dr Christina Swart-Opperman and Herodia Nehale, Minister of Higher Education, Innovation and Training Dr Itah Kandjji-Murangi, Regina Ndopu-Lubinda and higher education permanent secretary Alfred Van Kent.

Windhoek

The Council of the University of Namibia (Unam) will soon be looking for a possible candidate to replace its vice-chancellor, Professor Lazarus Hangula, whose term of office comes to end in June.

There were unofficial reports circulating that his term was due to come to an end last year already. However, Minister of Higher Education, Innovation and Training Dr Itah Kandjii-Murangi yesterday confirmed that Hangula’s term of office will come to an end in June.

The minister, who handed over appointment letters to five Unam council presidential appointees yesterday, said: “I have it on good standing that our vice-chancellor’s term will come to an end by the end of June.” Hangula had been acting in the position of VC since 2004, after Professor Peter Katjavivi left to take up an ambassadorial post in 2003.

She said it is the responsibility of Unam council members “to begin to access and look around at possible candidates.” Once the potential candidates are identified, she noted, their names will be presented to President Hage Geingob for consideration and approval.

“We will talk about it when the time comes, but… it has to be people who can meet the challenge and drive the institution forward. Such a person should be able to expand its (Unam’s) horizons and ensure that knowledge creation is of great quality, as we continue to benchmark our university on the best established standards of universities in the world,” she urged.

The new presidential appointees on the university council will serve for three years.
The newly appointed members are Regina Ndopu-Lubinda, Dr David Uirab, Dr Christina Swart-Opperman, Herodia Nehale, and higher education permanent secretary Alfred Van Kent.

The minister further reminded the newly appointed council members that prudent financial management is crucial to any institution.
“Financial management is key. I believe you will be exposed to the actual key areas that tend to be the main pullers of resources. It is up to you to really assess whether these things add value to the institution’s programmes. The institution is there mainly for three things: teaching, research and community involvement.”

She said, given that the president appointed the new members from among many other candidates, it means there are high expectations.

“You will add value to the task at hand. You will steer the ship to the right shore. We expect quality education, research, lecturers and professors. We have expectations from this institution that it must be responsive to the needs of the country,” she noted.

She further urged the council to ensure that students are well taken care of by providing the necessary support, adding that the majority of students are funded by government, so she does not expect dropouts.

At the time of Hangula’s initial appointment to the post, a total of five applications were received for the position. In addition to interviews, the candidates were required to make public presentations to share their vision for Unam with the wider academic community and the public at large.

Professor Hangula was previously the pro-vice chancellor for academic affairs and research at Unam, director of Unam’s Multidisciplinary Research and Consultancy Centre (MRCC) and also head of the Social Science Division of MRCC.

A full Research Professor at Unam, he holds a Doctor of Philosophy degree, cum laude, in History, Philosophy and Ethnology from the Johannes Gutenberg University in Germany, and from the same university an Masters, cum laude, in Philosophy, History and African Studies.

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