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Nam unprepared for knowledge-based economy

by Edy Narib



Former diplomat and Kunene Region governor, Josea //Hoebeb says the education sector should look at what is at the country’s disposal to help shift towards greater levels of beneficiation.
Speaking to The Villager during a recent consultation workshop, which focused on the comprehensive and holistic review of the entire education system,
//Hoebeb advised that the diversification of the higher education sector would solve many challenges currently faced by the country in terms of skills shortage.
“Let us look at what we have and what we know, then develop skills towards that rather than running to the unknown,” //Hoebeb said.
He added that in the Erongo and Karas regions  where mining activity is the mainstay, skills training in that sector should be prioritised.
According to //Hoebeb, the Kavango  Region is blessed with material to manufacture furniture, yet the country still exports raw material or wood to other countries then buy finished products from the neighbouring countries.
The same, he said, goes for the Kunene Region, which is blessed with abundant fauna and flora and is a haven  for tourism and farming.
The governor raised his concern over the fact that our country, with its rich natural resources, still heavily relies on finished products at higher prices, which are derived from its own raw material that are exported due to skills shortages.
Higher Education Management Africa (HEMA) consultant, Professor Rolf Stumpf also said the country’s private higher education institutions are money-driven with footprints concentrated in and around Windhoek.
Namibia, he said, does not need many educational institutions, operating on the same modus operandi, “It does not make any sense to have many institutions at the same place that offer the same courses, thus limiting career choices.
"These institutions even offer irrelevant courses that have nothing to do with the nation’s realities or challenges, while there are none in other parts of the country. The institutions should also have clear academic profiles, as well as programmes that are of top quality.”
Professor Stumpf said Vision 2030 and the National Development Plan (NDP) challenge the country to prepare for a knowledge-based economy.
Meeting these challenges require all education providers, notably higher education providers to step up to strategically focused performance and delivery of quality, equitable and accessible education and research, not to forget community engagement.
“Only such performance would generate the skills and knowledge needed to achieve the country’s ambitious development,” he said.