Windhoek-Despite the current economic situation students funded by the Namibia Students Financial Assistance Fund (NSFAF) will continue to receive funding.
This was the promise of the Minister of Higher Education, Training and Innovation, Dr Itah Kandjii-Murangi, made during the official opening of the 2017 academic year for the Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST) at its main campus in Windhoek.
She said challenges facing higher education are complex, and concerted efforts are needed to provide new solutions.
“Some of the challenges include lack of funding for higher education to our public universities and financial support to needy students,” she said.
She said the ministry has defined its policies and programmes, which include strengthening the national capacity for higher productivity. Therein, the ministry recognizes and highlights the crucial role that university education, training and innovation should play in national development.
In this regard, she said, the ministry is committed to advance the higher education system and the ministry is currently working at expanding the national technical and vocational training system.
“We are thus concerned with improving the status and quality of our economy by creating the desired positive outputs and outcomes,” said Kandjii-Murangi.
She said the envisioned Technical, Vocational Education and Training Programme’s (TVET) expansion will require a strong pool of qualified instructors and this is why over the next five years the TVET Instructors Training Unit housed at NUST will be transformed into a fully-fledged faculty to cater for pre- and in-services education and training of all TVET instructors.
She said those measures are intended to create more opportunities for students and for youths to access higher education and training so as to acquire skills in areas needed by industry.
“As a science and technology-oriented university, NUST must continue to work with industry,” stressed Kandjii-Murangi, adding that collaboration and cooperation with industry is of paramount importance in the areas of research, curriculum development and internship.
“It is such ties with industry which broaden students’ knowledge and skills to be employable upon graduation or thereafter,” Kandjii-Murangi further noted.
Furthermore, she told the students representative council (SRC) and the rest of the NUST student body that they belong to the NUST family for their academic advancement and they should learn the structures and rules that govern their stay at the institution.
“We expect you to always engage and involve your institution’s relevant structures when in doubt or aggrieved,” she said, adding that their legitimate concerns and issues must be represented to the right structures and or management at NUST “and should be resolved here”.
“Learn to guard the peace and tranquility of your campus and university jealously,” she stressed.
Kandjii-Murangi said it is the duty of the vice-chancellor and the entire NUST staff to work and maintain a peaceful working environment that engenders teaching and learning.
“We owe it to the students and the nation to serve to the best of our abilities, to go the extra mile – after all, it is in their becoming that we, as educators, are fulfilled,” she said.