Windhoek-The University of Namibia (Unam) is working with the Namibian Standards Institution (NSI) in the development of standards for yoghurt and other dairy products from its Neudamm and Ogongo campuses.
Other products in the pipeline ready for standards development include food and beverages from indigenous plants and fruits, products from medicinal plants and software from information technology.
This was announced by Unam Vice Chancellor Professor Lazarus Hangula yesterday when he signed a cooperation agreement with the NSI to strengthen participation of academia in the area of standards development and coordination, certification, testing and metrology.
NSI will during the implementation phase use Unam’s labs for testing of standards and exhibit at Unam’s Research and Innovation Day and other career fairs. Therefore, he said the agreement would serve as a vehicle and catalyst of cooperation between the two institutions in accreditation and certification.
Hangula said the MoU is important to Unam, as it comes at a time when the institution is seeking accreditation of its laboratory standards in compliance with international best practices through NSI, the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO), the SADC
Accreditation Standards, and the South African National Accreditation Standards.
The vice chancellor said the university’s increased enrolment figures have triggered an upsurge in investment in laboratories in various crucial areas. At present Unam enrolment stands at 24,759 students.
These laboratories, he said, are geared towards advancing architectural sciences, biosciences, chemistry, computer science, engineering, medicine, tissue culture, animal nutrition science, biotechnology, food science and veterinary science, among others, and require accreditation and certification.
Hangula said it was imperative that Unam labs be accredited and certified to enable them to be transformed from teaching labs to service laboratories, in line with the institution’s wholesale mandate of serving as a beacon of excellence in research and innovation development.
The agreement further seeks to encourage participation in activities organised under the National Quality Policy. NSI chief executive officer Chie Wasserfall noted that Cabinet had approved the National Quality Policy to ensure Namibians produce quality products and services and educational institutions, that can play an important role through the introduction of quality-related courses in the curricula.
Therefore, through the agreement, she said the NSI aims to ensure Unam will be able to fulfil government’s directive through its active participation in the establishment of the Quality Association of Namibia, as well as the Laboratory Association of Namibia. The cooperation agreement is valid from the June 7 for three years.