Windhoek-Director of the Namibian College of Open Learning (Namcol) Heroldt Murangi has expressed dismay over critics who say the institution is merely there for Grade 10 and 12 failures and cannot offer tertiary programmes.
Murangi said in 1998 Namcol already introduced a Certificate in Education for Development with an initial learner intake of less than 30. To date, he said, Namcol’s learner intake for the tertiary level programmes stands at 3,034.
His comments comes hot on the heels of Namcol’s official launch of two new programmes that will be offered starting in the 2018 academic year.
These are the Certificate in Business and Entrepreneurship and a Bachelor’s Degree in Youth Development.
Some skeptics complained that the programmes do not correspond with national qualification requirements, as stipulated by the Namibia Qualifications Authority (NQA). But Namcol says the degree qualification will enable a graduate to be on the same level as any other student who completed a degree course at an institution of higher learning, as Namcol courses are accredited by the NQA.
“Sometimes it is shocking and disappointing to hear from academics and lawmakers questioning the institution’s role and mandate to offer tertiary level programmes. We expect from these people to know better than ordinary citizens. I would rather say to my fellow citizens, it is better to be quiet than to confuse the nation,” Murangi reacted.
He made reference to section 18 of the Namcol Act of 1997 that talks about training programmes, courses, and proof of proficiency.
The Act clearly stipulates that Namcol may offer such training programmes and courses as it deems necessary to prepare learners to attain the standard of proficiency in examinations or other tests arranged, controlled and conducted by Namcol or by bodies other than Namcol, whether such bodies are situated in Namibia or not.
He said business and entrepreneurship is a critical driver in innovation and economic growth and fostering this field is an important part of the economic growth strategy of Namibia.
“It is for this reason that we, as a college, assist in the development of business and entrepreneurial ecosystems,” he noted, adding that in 2019 Namcol will offer the diploma course, to be followed by the Bachelor’s degree in Business and Entrepreneurship.
He added that Namcol currently offers a Diploma in Youth Development, which previously was offered in conjunction with the Commonwealth Youth Secretariat since 2002.
He said Namcol customised the qualification according to local needs and in collaboration with the Commonwealth of Learning (Vancouver, Canada), Commonwealth Youth Secretariat (London, UK) and the University of the West Indies, they plan to introduce the Bachelor’s of Art in Youth Development.
Its purpose, he says is to develop a cadre of professional youth workers equipped with the professional competencies required for effective youth development work at management levels within their regions. It’s a three-year degree programme offered via the distance learning, with face-to-face support.
“Based on continuous enquiries for the possibility of further studies by our existing graduates in the Diploma of Youth Development Work, the college deemed it appropriate to provide pathways for our existing students in furtherance of their studies, since there is a lack of relevant qualifications within this field in Namibia,” Murangi pointed out.
He said the degree programme would be launched at the 9th Commonwealth Youth Ministers’ meeting in Uganda, Kampala on July 31.