Let me demonstrate my views and opinions regarding an issue that is seen insignificant and unrecognised by the Namibian leaders. I am a graduate psychology student, or let me say a hopeless student in pain, extremely disappointed by the ways of upgrading education in Namibia.
Psychology may be just a course to study to many, but a passion to the majority of us. It is no simple matter if a certain course is disregarded and unvalued in your very own country and yet the high institutions remain enrolling thousands of students every single year for that specific course.
I might not have gathered all the sufficient information or enough concrete evidences to support my affirmation, but what I have assembled and learnt after my graduation should be sufficient and valid in the eyes of the leaders and all community members.
It is no new story that Bachelor of Arts [in Psychology] students are not recognised as health professionals by Health Professional Council of Namibia (HPCNA) and are apparently not qualified for registration with HPCNA regardless of their four years degree certificate.
Bachelor of Arts students cannot have any privilege to internships or to practice as psychological counsellors, not even under supervision as long as they are not registered with HPCNA. I have inquired about this and I was informed that the only way to be registered with HPCNA is when you hold a Master’s degree certificate.
To make matters worse, the University of Namibia is the only institution in the country that offers psychology classes and it only takes in approximately less than 20 students for Master degree program, which does not even happen every year because sometimes a year or years may pass without offering this Master program.
I do not know if the individuals in connection to this are willingly ignoring the facts or refusing to see how serious this issue is affecting our lives. Why does the University of Namibia keep on offering the Bachelor of Arts programme to students every single year if the Namibian industry does not have a room for those students? Why doesn’t the University of Namibia offer practical lessons to all psychology students throughout the duration of the course if perhaps that is one of the limitations with HPCNA process? What are the possible reasons behind HPCNA not registering Bachelor of Arts graduates?
This is without doubt a hidden truth – hidden to all the students registering for this course as nobody highlighted those facts to the students. To me, psychology is an important course just like any other courses offered worldwide. In fact, more imperative as it is a multidisciplinary field of study and plays a major role in every working environment.
We need answers. I have no knowledge on who is responsible for this matter but we nevertheless require immediate responses from the University of Namibia, the HPCNA, minister of high education and even our president, who is probably is unaware of the situation.
We are demanding for amendments to HPCNA system and University of Namibia system regarding this issue. The University of Namibia must either stop offering this course or limit the number of first year students, and enhance the program in ways that would allow HPCNA to consider Bachelor of Arts students’ registration. One way or another, they need to confront this issue collectively, because with all due respect, we aren’t soldiers who are trained just to be dropped in camps, receiving on-going training and waiting for oncoming wars. We possess passions, we need to practice our passions and change the lives of many.
Ebba Naftal is a graduate student in Bachelor of Arts (Clinical Psychology) from the University of Namibia.