14 Oct 2014 14:00pm
WINDHOEK, 14 OCT (NAMPA) - President Hifikepunye Pohamba says government is exploring the idea of free tertiary education in priority areas such as science and technology.
The Head of State, whose speech was read on his behalf by Deputy Prime Minister Marco Hausiku at the 19th graduation of the Polytechnic of Namibia (PoN) in the capital last Friday, said this forms part of the recommendations made at the 2011 National Conference on Education.
It was found during that conference that Namibias education system requires significant improvements and reforms.
To this end, the government has abolished the payment of school development fees (SDFs) as a means of extending free universal primary education.
The same arrangement will be implemented at secondary education level in the 2016 academic year, Pohamba said.
He further indicated that the Namibia Students Financial Assistance Fund (NSFAF) was also transformed into a fully-fledged semi-autonomous agency with a complete staff complement in order to address the needs of students in a more effective and efficient manner.
The reforms taking place at the various levels of the country's education system are directed towards building a knowledge-based economy.
Pohamba said the transformation of the PoN into the Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST) will greatly contribute towards the socio-economic transformation of the nation.
I am also confident that the envisaged University of Science and Technology will be well-positioned to compete with other universities in Africa, and elsewhere around the world, he continued.
The president said Namibia must thus continue to build outstanding institutions of learning, which will serve as agents for the rapid transformation of the Namibian economy.
As a nation, Namibians must furthermore embrace technology as an enabler of development in all sectors of the economy - from the extraction of raw materials to manufacturing, services and intellectual property development.
Pohamba, therefore, encouraged Namibians to constantly seek opportunities to expand their knowledge and improve their skills.
Minister of Education David Namwandi told Nampa on Monday that the name-change of the Polytechnic to the Namibia University of Science and Technology will only take place next year.