Minister of Higher Education, Training and Innovation (MHTI), Dr. Itah Murangi-Kandji has called on tertiary institutions to align the curricula with industry needs so graduates are better equipped to join the work force.
Dr. Murangi-Kandji said there is need for constant engagement between industry and tertiary institutions to find the best ways of improving for the latter to be able to produce graduates that meet the needs and demands of the former.
“Assessment is being done, industries are also growing as the number of graduates are growing. Things such as broader needs, demand and development are being looked at to absorb graduates provided that there is alignment in training programs and academic programs to provide for the actual need of the industries,” Murangi-Kandji said.
She added that there is need for industries to discuss the curriculum of the tertiary institutions with the relevant authorities.
Commenting on the matter, Namibia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCI) Chief Executive Officer, Tarah Shaanika, claimed there is little or nothing being done to assess the number of graduates and the demand of the employment industries and various sectorsas many graduates take time before gaining employment in their fields of study.
“There are no studies being conducted by any institution to determine the capacity of Namibian companies to employ all graduates from our institutions of higher learning including vocational training centers. The supply of workers is higher than the demand and this is causing unemployment to remain high,” Shaanika said.
He added as long as the economy is unable to create more jobs than the number of people who are entering the job market every year, Namibia will continue to have this stubbornly high unemployment.
Senior lecturer at University of Namibia (UNAM) Dr Hoze Riruako explained that the SME sector has been growing at a snail’s pace as information dissemination is not being done accordingly as Namibians in need of the information are failing to receive it.
“The whole SME sector has been in its infancy since the beginning of time and we have a number of institutions which are aimed to make sure that they give the cash injection and the boost that the SME sector needs” said Dr Riruako.
He added that Namibian graduates are not looking to venture into areas that are relatively unexploited and where opportunities are available but instead choose to follow in the steps of their peers. This is happening despite the fact that the SME sector has been growing at the rate of about anything between 20-35%, which is very minute and a lot needs to be done since the SME sector is a cross-cutting activity that involves all the sectors of the economy.
The medicine and other health sector remains fairly untreated territory were numerous opportunities exist for emerging entrepreneurs new graduates can exploit.