28 Jul 2013 05:40
WINDHOEK, 28 JUL (NAMPA) - Investing in space science and technology will allow the development of the critical skills needed to liberate the nation from the developmental shortcomings it is faced with.
The Rector of the Polytechnic of Namibia (PoN), Tjama Tjivikua said this during the second Earth Observation and Satellite Applications and Research Training Centre (EOSA-RTC) Conference held here on Wednesday.
The conference was organised by the PoN in collaboration with the Ministry of Education and the University of Namibia (Unam).
The PoN established the EOSA-RTC in 2011, and has been selected by the Ministry of Education to host the Namibian Institute of Space Technology (NIST) which was officially inaugurated in April this year to promote awareness initiatives in space technology and allied fields.
The aim of the conference was to discuss space science, and to align and give due consideration to national and international activities and drivers which impact on and may hinder or promote the activities envisaged for space science at the PoN.
In as much as Namibia has not led in these developments scientifically or economically, we have all experienced the benefits of scientific and technological developments.
Thus, we are currently at a critical juncture with a number of space science activities taking place and others being initiated, Tjivikua stated.
He further said the multi-national projects which the institution is involved in have a huge potential to stimulate and drive the development of capacity, knowledge and skills in Namibia.
However, it is only an opportunity, and it is up to us to take advantage of this moment. It, therefore, becomes urgent that we articulate a vision and strategy in order to participate in these enormous scientific developments and opportunities in our own backyard, he indicated.
According to Tjivikua, space science technology and applications have a huge potential to deliver on a wide range of national development priorities such as urban and rural development, logistics, agriculture, land and resource management and unemployment.
He emphasised that if Namibia as a country wants to lift its people out of poverty and misery which characterises so many citizens daily existence, then the nation needs to invest heavily in science.
I am not proclaiming that science on its own will be a panacea for our problems. But I am professing that we need to convert science into useful technologies for application by industry and the citizens, he stressed.
Tjivikua added that new technologies are sometimes anticipated and planned for, but equally often flow from fundamental research, where the potential benefits and applications are often not foreseen.
The PoN has a formidable capacity and group of partners which include the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT), all which, according to Tjivikua, have provided valuable input and support at various stages.