President Hifikepunye Pohamba says education should be the foundation for achieving the national vision of a prosperous country.
He said this at the 18th graduation ceremony of the Polytechnic of Namibia late last week.
“I commend the Rector and his team for their efforts to broaden training opportunities so that more young Namibians can access tertiary education opportunities. Our young people are the future of our country. We must prepare them well and equip them with the necessary skills through education and training,” he noted.
The graduation saw 1 789 students receiving certificates, diplomas and degrees in the first such ceremony of this year, whilst the second event is due in October.
Pohamba said Namibia still faces challenges to strengthen the education system, hence various initiatives are being pursued to develop the system further.
Some of the initiatives include creating more vocational training institutions in different regions, as well as expanding and strengthening training programmes for pre-primary and primary education.
Polytechnic Rector Professor Tjama Tjivikua says there is a need to have more students taking on courses in science and technology for the development of the country.
“We must dedicate ourselves to building sustainable futures, meaning we must develop people and graduates, institutions and systems with the appropriate skills and means to lead our nation at all levels of society, politics and business,” he said.
On the eve of the graduation, Prof Tjivikua oversaw Poly’s 18th award ceremony under the theme ‘Building Sustainable Futures’, in which 111 awards were given to outstanding students from the different schools within their institution.
Namibia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCI) Chief Executive Officer Tarah Shaanika, applauded the institution for the initiative which can only inspire students to work harder.
“This comes out in the mission of the institution which is to promote national competitiveness by providing multiple opportunities for excellent education, applied research and service. Furthermore excellence is then embraced as one of the key values of the institution. These awards do challenge and encourage top performers to become everything they have the potential to be,” he said.
He added that due to the economical uncertainties, opportunities are rare these days and the youth should be able to compete to become important players in the economy.
He stresses that the youth cannot remain oblivious to some of the challenge facing the country which includes poverty, unemployment and inequalities as well as the need to transform the economy from a resource based to knowledge based economy capable of generating greater wealth for all citizens of the country.
Shaanika added that Namibia is still challenged by the acute shortage of skills. He then called on the private sector to invest more in supporting the education system.
“The private sector is an important player in the process of developing skills required by our economy and which will be the driving force behind our objective of creating knowledge based economy.”
Tjivikua said the importance of continuously producing excellent students who will be able to be good pillars of the country’s economy.
Hence, as part of the transformation of Polytechnic into a University, initiatives including strengthening the postgraduate qualifications and research are on the card.