Query: We finished Grade 12 a long time ago but we didn’t achieve the required points to go to Universities. Why does the army and police only recruit people who have passed Grade 12 with good marks while we, who didn’t do so well, remain in the streets? People who passed well must be granted bursaries to study further because the country needs more teachers and nurses. The streets are now full of Grade 10 and 12 dropouts. We want to work, please.
Response: The requirements for recruitment into the NDF have changed with time. Since 1995 until recently the requirements for academic qualifications were grade 10 and above for soldiers and Grade 12 and above for officers. However, these requirements were changed in 2015 due to the nature of contemporary warfare. The soldiers are expected to plan, lead and operate sophisticated weapons systems due to the constantly changing technologies. They are therefore not only operators of weapon systems but must also intelligently apply their minds to everything they are doing and the environment they are working in.
These challenges are even greater for Namibia because the NDF is a young defence force and as such it relies on assistance from other countries whether it is for providing specialised training or acquisition of military equipment. Members of the NDF are also expected to operate jointly with the soldiers of other nations and beyond the borders of Namibia in assistance of a neighbour or in peace support operations. They are therefore expected to have the necessary training and education to enable them to operate effectively.
It must be understood that the NDF was not created to provide employment, but it was established with a mission to “Defend the territorial integrity of the Republic of Namibia and protect its people and their properties”. The NDF can only accomplish this mission if it has the right human and material resources in place at the right time. Those who do not meet the requirements of the NDF are therefore advised and encouraged to try other fields such as agriculture and other labour intensive fields.
• Gideon Shuuya, Chief Media Officer, Ministry of Defence