27 Mar 2019 14:00pm
WINDHOEK, 27 MAR (NAMPA) Government cannot lower its education standards to accommodate foreign-trained medical students just because they are Namibians, Minister of Higher Education, Training and Innovation, Itah Kandjii-Murangi has said.
Kandjii-Murangi said this in the National Assembly on Tuesday while responding to questions by Popular Democratic Movement President, McHenry Venaani.
Venaani asked for a commission of inquiry to be set up to investigate how the Namibia Students Financial Assistance Fund (NSFAF) spent close to N.dollars 300 million on medical students at institutions of higher learning that were neither accredited nor vetted by the Namibia Qualifications Authority (NQA).
Kandjii-Murangi said success will not lower its standards to accommodate Namibia.
We have to raise our standards to achieve it. To have the best doctors we must do what it takes to have them. Shortcuts through formal education, playing victim upon graduation and defending the indefensible will not dilute the quality of professional services we deliver to the general public and compromise Namibias competitiveness, she said.
The minister said the majority of the students have submitted their qualifications to the NQA for evaluation and for verification of the authenticity of the status of the awarding institutions.
Kandjii-Murangi said in some areas the foreign qualifications met the standards. However, with some graduates, real serious shortcomings have been identified through the pre-evaluations and internship programmes arranged through the University of Namibia (UNAM).
The government is seized with the matter, hence the higher education and health ministries, Health Professions Council of Namibia, UNAM and NQA have been working hard to ensure that wherever knowledge, skills or competency gaps exist, they are addressed through a well monitored programme, she said.
Kandjii-Murangi said the onus lies on the affected foreign trained graduates to commit to the programme assigned to them in order to improve and learn what is found to be lacking from their training abroad.
Venaani also moved a motion that those who were at the helm of the NSFAF when it spent the close to N.dollars 300 million on foreign trained medical professionals who might never ply their trade locally, should be held accountable for squandering taxpayer money.
This motion was however shut down by Swapo Members of Parliament through a vote.
The majority is not always right, that is all I have to say, Swanu President, Dr Tangeni Iijambo, said in reaction to the vote.