Namibia like any other African country in its developmental stage needs a vibrant human resources base that has capacity to drive Government policy and improve production in all sectors of the economy.
It goes without saying that a vibrant human resources with ability to adjust to the needs of the industry obviously comes from a deliberate policy to train and also to make the education system relevant to the needs of the day.
One way of getting closer to the dream of having a diverse human resources will be for Government who are the custodians of the education system to push technical subjects in schools from the earliest possible time.
Pupils in grade eight and above could gradually be introduced to subjects such as technical drawing, carpentry, wood curving, painting and building as practical subjects.
In the same vein a delicate balance should be created with academic subjects to make sure that those that have intellectual capacity will thrive in their path while those with technical capacity will sharpen their skills for the future.
Eventually upon completion of upper high school those that fail to make it in the intellectual path will follow the technical path and enrol at vocational institutions while those with the an intellectual ability go to university.
A few years of such a deliberate policy by Government will witness Namibia moving to a stage where the economy has all the skills needed technically and on intellectual fields. It will also create a robust SME and informal industry that can also beef up the country’s taxation system.
More importantly while it will be easy to close the skills Namibia will also simply close the unemployment gap as those that have been nurtured into technical skills will not necessarily need to look for employment but to create some of it by virtue of their qualifications.
The syndrome of dependency on Government subsidies will also be curtailed if enough effort is invested in crafting a working education system that feeds industry. Ironically what is bedevilling the Namibian education system for now is an orchestrated blame game between industry and Government.
On one end the industry somewhat feels the level of graduates being churned out by our tertiary institutions leave a lot to be desired while Government does not want to take the lead in creating the vocational education system that is robust and able to produce.
Going forward a simple solution where Government creates a better education system with consultations from industry and industry invests heavily in creating a diverse array of needed skills will build a stronger economy.
Creation of better policies in education will also usher in the country in the right direction to feeding industry with the relevant skills. Onwards the Ministry of Education both higher and basic education need to closely look at the loopholes in the system and address the challenges.
The Minister as a policy make also need to confront the challenges facing our education system head on be in a position to admit where they are challenges and also acknowledge where there are strength.
Sorting out the education system is a combined effort for all stakeholders as compared to a government driven initiative alone where private sector plays spectator.