There are 130 Namibian government-funded students currently pursuing studies in Malaysia in various programmes, including information technology and multi-media studies.
A further 45 Namibians are expected to graduate later this year and will thus have to have their qualifications evaluated by the Namibia Qualifications Authority (NQA).
NQA chief executive officer Franz Gertze revealed this on Thursday when the NQA renewed its longstanding cooperation agreement with its counterpart, the Malaysian Qualifications Authority (MQA), effective as of May 7.
The memorandum of technical cooperation and partnership has been in place for over 16 years following its commencement in 2000. At the time, the two institutions established closer relations for the purpose of exploring ways and means of establishing collaborative mechanisms for mutual benefit.
Gertze said qualifications have become sought-after currency, as the gateway to better quality of life. Therefore, he added, quality assurance in the education sector is of utmost importance.
“We are fortunate to cooperate with one of the foremost qualifications authorities in the world as we strive to ensure quality education for all Namibians. The renewal of this agreement illustrates our commitment towards continuous refinement of our processes and internal efficiency, which translates into better service for all our clients,” he noted.
As a direct result of the cooperation agreement between the NQA and the MQA, Gertze said the mutual recognition of qualifications is expected to be a relatively continuous and swift exercise, thus enabling the graduates to start exploring employment opportunities without delay.
Further, he said, the NQA is keen to explore collaboration in the area of research on quality assurance related issues. This, he explained would enable the NQA to obtain critical data in the area of education and qualifications in Namibia, that can be used to ensure consistency of quality standards in the sector.
Further to that, he said, in its capacity as a forum for all matters pertaining to qualifications, the NQA will be in a position to advise government on evidence-based approaches to skills and competencies development, which are necessary for national planning. The two institutions also exchanged expertise in the area of data management and archiving of national records of learning and information technology systems for the national qualifications frameworks.
During the previous term that expired in May this year, a capacity building trip to Malaysia was undertaken for skills transfer purposes, during which NQA employees were exposed to international best practices in quality assurance.
Following these exchanges, Gertze said, the NQA successfully adopted and implemented some Malaysian practices in order to augment its own quality assurance processes.
Namibian High Commissioner to Malaysia Anna Mutelo reiterated the Namibian government’s commitment to the Harambee Prosperity Plan (HPP), highlighting that her key aim is to promote skills development as a key element in the attainment of the HPP and other national objectives, as outlined in Vision 2030.
The agreement will be in force for a further five-year term and will expire on May 6, 2021.