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Other Articles from The Villager

When will we do away with primitivism?

Mon, 27 July 2015 04:10
by Charmaine Ngatjiheue
Columns

Namibia is regarded as a middle-income country, and we are heading towards being a developed nation. Industrialisation is thus of utmost importance at present, yet we embrace primitivism like a child.
When shall we do away with primitivism, and fully encompass the evolving technological trends?
I ask this question because civil servants are refusing to grow. They are refusing to embrace change.
In this sense when I use the term primitivism, I mean belonging to a society in which people live in a very simple way, usually without industries or a writing system.
In simple terms, it means belonging to a very early period in development, a society which is embryonic.
Embryonic for Namibia and in terms of my column means that the country is still budding, sprouting, emerging or whichever word suits your being.
Our systems are still lurking behind in terms of embracing technological trends which safeguard vital country information, hence using the manual system.
To get to the point, a number of Government offices are still using the manual system as a way to record and/or keep track of data.
Picture it this way, technology is advancing, yet we remain primitive in doing our work.
I am unable to phantom the level of bourgeoning, as it is disappointing, to say the least.
25 years after independence, and we are still keeping our records via a manual system.
Now, every time you need the data, you end up reverting to the boxes where the information is kept.
So many a times, we (as journalists) request data from government offices and because of the manual system, information takes close to three months to reach you.
A colleague once requested for information from the Namibian Police (Nampol), and it took over three months to get that information.
Mind you, she had to pester the police to provide her with that information every week before it eventually came.
Recently, I called a certain ministry, requesting particular information.
I was proudly told by the person on the other side that “we have a manual system, and it might take ages to provide you with this information”.
As you can imagine, I asked: “does it mean you will take a week, or two or three, or how long will it take you to provide me with that information?”
This was a meaningless dialogue, which may either be seen as a way for that government official to avoid giving me that information, or they are indeed operating on a manual system.
There are so many of these scenarios to mention, and it is disappointing to say the least. Most of us journalists have ‘fallen prey’ to them (pardon me for the lack of a better word).
Are our civil servants just lazy to type everything which is manual to put it in soft copy?
The question one needs to pose out there is whether this manual system has some form of protection, if these buildings catch a fire?
No, really though, have they (Government) considered the possibility of a fire breaking out? Just imagine, all their information will be lost.
How will Government be able to retrieve that information? It is a sad reality which might occur before they even expect it.
My suggestion would be for all these offices which are still using the manual system to keep up with the ever- evolving technological trends, and create data saved in an advanced way to prevent any losses of information.
It is better to be safe than sorry.
The Namibian economy is growing at a fast pace, with the Central Bank of Namibia a fortnight ago predicting a growth of 5%.
All that this growth says to us is that we need to do away with our primitivism.
Yes, we all agree that we are a young nation, and we are yet to achieve a lot, but really now, a manual system? Eish!
Vision 2030 is peeping through the window, and industrialisation should not just be seen as the country evolving, adding value to our products and manufacturing our own products, but it should also progress in terms of doing away with the manual system.