Former president Hifikepunye Pohamba has called on the private sector to provide more internship opportunities and jobs to new graduates and said it is unreasonable to expect new graduates to have four or six years of work experience.
Pohamba made the remarks at the University of Namibia (Unam) last week Thursday, where about 3,150 students graduated in various fields of study. This year’s graduation recorded the highest number of graduates in one year since the inception of the university.
Pohamba, the chancellor of Unam, said experimental training at work is very important for students studying at local tertiary institutions to complement their education and training. This, he says, is only possible if both public and private sector institutions open their doors for student internships and practical or industrial training.
“That is why I fully support work-integrated experiential training, which I believe would help our graduates to gain experience in their relevant fields,” he noted.
Further, he cautioned that students should not leave university thinking there are ready-made jobs out there. Instead, he said, they should go out with skills to create jobs for themselves and others, and above all, to provide leadership.
“Namibia needs your leadership. Namibia needs your knowledge and skills. Use them to harness and exploit the resources that our country is endowed with. Use them to add value, so as to contribute to the industrialisation of our country with the national Vision 2030 in mind,” he urged.
He commended Unam for establishing eight faculties, seven schools and seven academic centres dispersed throughout its 12 campuses countrywide.
Among the graduates is the second group of more than 50 medical doctors, who underwent six years of education and training at the Unam School of Medicine in the Faculty of Health Sciences.
In addition, 53 professional engineers at undergraduate level are graduating from the Faculty of Engineering and information Technology this year. Pohamba noted that this was the sixth time since its establishment that Unam graduated engineers from the engineering faculty and noted that nearly all engineering graduates have been absorbed in the job market, both in the public and private sector. For the first time, Unam also conferred a doctoral degree on one of its engineers.
Out of the 3,150 students that graduated this year, 641 studied using the distance-learning facilities offered by Unam. This year, the university enrolled about 24,759 students from Namibia and other parts of the world across its 12 campuses.