Okakarara VTC allegedly producing half-cooked graduates

22 Oct 2013 09:50am
OKAKARARA, 22 OCT (NAMPA) – Instructors at the Okakarara Vocational Training Centre (OVTC) have revealed to Education Minister David Namwandi that graduates from this institution are half-cooked.
The institution offers certificate courses in hospitality, hairdressing, carpentry, as well as the electrical and mechanical fields.
The instructors told Namwandi in a meeting on Monday here that the material and financial support they receive from the National Training Authority (NTA) is not enough.
As a result, learning and teaching is affected badly.
The NTA is currently managing all affairs of the vocational training centres in the country until such time that the transformation of VTCs in the country is completed.
The OVTC has 50 employees and more than 600 students this year.
The instructors criticised one after the other what they called the low quality of education they are apparently forced to offer to students at the institution, which falls under the NTA’s supervision.
OVTC head Penson Mootu told the minister that the institution has no equipment to teach students practical aspects with, which literally means they miss the point they were founded on.
Mootu said even the grants from Government which are supposed to help pay the tuition fees for students at the OVTC this year have not yet been paid.
For his part, the OVTC’s Hospitality instructor, Salomo Thomas said the daily teaching at the centre is often shortened, just to let the students go.
“The centre has no proper practical or technical equipment, yet student numbers are increasing every year. I am truly disappointed with this centre,” Thomas charged.
The Mathematics instructor at the same centre, Brian Masona, said the whole learning and teaching at the OVTC should be revised and improved.
He said the system is not empowering students with the needed practical skills, which is supposed to be the key purpose of a vocational training institution in any country.
Upon hearing this, Namwandi asked some senior officials of the NTA who were present at the meeting whether the instructors were telling him the truth.
The officials replied that the instructors were not lying, because the NTA has no money to upgrade the OVTC to the level that it is supposed to be.
Namwandi then urged the NTA’s acting Chief Executive Officer, Ester Anna Nghipondoka who was also in the meeting, to see to it that the situation changes for the better as soon as possible.
“I am disheartened to hear these concerns. This centre is neglected. Go back to your offices and institute change to the centre,” Namwandi told Nghipondoka in full view of the instructors.
The minister said the practical learning and teaching aspects at the OVTC should be strengthened, no matter what resources it would command.
Namwandi furthermore wished to see students from the OVTC graduating with technical knowledge that will enable them to start-up their own small companies, and employ more semi-skilled Namibians.
“The purpose why we have vocational training centres all over this country is to technically and practically train students the handiwork courses, not theories. Vocational training can be the real backbone of this country,” he stated.
Namwandi then toured the OVTC, accompanied by Otjozondjupa Regional Council chairperson Otto Ipinge; Okakarara Constituency Councillor Vetaruhe Kandorozu and the Otjozondjupa Regional Education Director, Faustina Caley.
He also visited the Okaepe Primary School in the Okakarara Constituency, and the Vooruit Primary School in Otjiwarongo.
The NTA was established by the Vocational Education and Training Act of 2008, Act no. 1 of 2008 to regulate the provision of vocational education, technical training and provision of funds to vocational training institutions by Government.