Paradigm shift needed in education goals

20 Jun 2016 19:30pm
WINDHOEK, 20 JUN (NAMPA) - A paradigm shift is urgently needed to unlock the potential of tertiary education, such as knowledge creation and skills development, in order to curb high poverty levels.
The Minister of Higher Education, Training and Innovation Itah Kandjii-Murangi said this when she officially opened a validation workshop on the review of technical and vocational education and training, higher education and science, technology and innovation systems, which commenced in the capital on Monday.
She explained that these goals continued to reveal severe disparities in employability skills of graduates, graduates' self-sustenance levels and their participation in economic growth initiatives, and their general engagement in nation building activities.
She said that while there are reasons to celebrate the noble strides made by the University of Namibia (UNAM) and the Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST) and other tertiary institutions that offer quality education and populate the different sectors of the country's workforce, the scarcity of technical and creative technology skilled professionals remains severe for a country that has set itself a target to be industrialised and competitive in less than 15 years.
“The clarion call to review, transform and align programmes of study and properly articulate levels of education and training; to do away with dead ends in the system and to expand access, is loudest for the Technical and Vocational Education (TVET) sub-sector,” she stressed.
The minister made it clear that education is given a pivotal role in the national and international development agendas, and Namibia is trapped in the framework of economic and social inequalities.
“We all owe it to the masses to deliver on the promises and set targets and goals of the education sector.”
Expectations are high and pressure is mounting in Namibia for the education sector to do things differently in order to arrive at different but desirable tangible results, Kandjii-Murangi said.
The two-day workshop is being held to discuss findings of the scoping mission conducted by the United Nations Scientific, Cultural Organisation (Unesco) in April this year, in order to assist that ministry in assessing the current status of TVET, higher education and innovation in Namibia by identifying strategic priorities and proposing alternative interventions responding to those priorities.