Outjo aims to become educational hub

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Clemans Miyanicwe
Khorixas

Outjo has big ambitions to become an educational hub for the Kunene Region and even the entire country.
“We’ve decided to turn our town into an educational hub for Kunene and the country. It might sound too ambitious or too big, but we will achieve it. Even if we don’t achieve it now, those who will come after us will achieve it,” Outjo Mayor Marius Sheya told New Era in a telephonic interview on Tuesday.

According to Sheya, councillors at the town have decided to transform Outjo into an educational hub and the town is open to educational institutions, such as colleges, universities, arts institutions, private schools, skills development institutions and vocational centres to establish campuses at the town.

Already the National University of Science and Technology (NUST) and International University of Technology (IUM), as well the Namibia Institute of Mining and Technology (NIMT), have shown an interest.
In terms of the Local Authorities Act, virgin land can be donated to educational institutions that want to establish campuses or branches at Outjo, he noted. IUM has already been allocated a 20-hectare plot as it strives to expand its national footprint.

Sheya said a NUST delegation led by Vice Chancellor Dr Tjama Tjivikua visited the town in February and discussions were held regarding setting up of a NUST campus at the town, which will mostly offer tourism-related courses, while IUM is planning to open a fully-fledged campus.

According to the Outjo mayor, IUM was offered property that belongs to the municipality, so that they can begin operations next year. “Instead of waiting for the construction of the fully-fledged campus, the municipality has offered property to IUM, so they can at least start offering courses from next year, as we cannot wait for construction to be done for three years,” Sheya says.

The old Outjo Hospital will host NIMT and up to 1,000 trainees will be enrolled, but financial problems are hampering that process, as about N$15 million is needed to renovate the old building. NIMT will also offer accommodation facilities for its trainees at the town. “We need to renovate the building and buy machinery for the institution,” Sheya noted. The premises will remain state property though.
Sheya said they want change and improve the lives and prospects of the youth and even if it is a difficult task to source the necessary funds the municipality will not give up on its goals.

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