Minister of Education, Abraham Iyambo commended Namcol for the pivotal role and its indespensible contribution in educating young adults through open learning.
Iyambo spoke at the Centre for Open Learning’s 11th graduation at the Safari Court hotel last Friday where more than 300 graduates were conferred with diplomas and certificates.
Namcol enrolled over 34 000 students for this academic year for subjects such as Early Childhood Development, Local Government Studies, Business Management as well as a number of other disciplines.
Iyambo further urged graduates to use their well-earned knowledge to make a difference in Namibia pointing out the urgent need for quality education through formal and informal educational institutions.
“The need to offer quality education to all through formal and informal institutions creates access to more entries. Our core objective is to diversify and curb potential damage to pride, ill-advancement or idle citizens due to lack of education. Thus, a dire need to aggressively spend equal energy to open, distance learning and vocational education as well as training has become utterly imperative,” Iyambo said.
According to him, such training and skill transfers are emphasised by functional companies such as the mining industry, agriculture, fisheries, hospitality and tourism. These areas, Iyambo pointed out, rely heavily on vocational skills and talent.
He further suggested that should Namcol and other educational institutions continue to train vocational students, Namibia’s vision to become an industrial country could be soon realised.
“Namibia appreciates a vocationally educated and trained workforce. A workforce of high quality that could transform into an industrial country. To this end, the Ministry of Education, in line with resolutions of the 2011 National Conference of Education, is re-introducing vocational training in selected secondary schools,” Iyambo stated.
Meanwhile, Namcol director, Heroldt Murangi explained the enormous demand for Namcol programmes. He, however, noted that funding remains a challenge; “Although the demand for these programmes are enormous, funding remains a prohibiting factor, since our students do not benefit through the Namibia Student Financial Assistance Scheme; either in the form of scholarships or student loan schemes, Honourable Minister we need your intervention.”
Murangi further pointed out that Namcol programmes are tailor-made to address the most pressing needs of the Namibian communities. He is therefore convinced that such graduates can initiate workplace transformations, which would subsequently enable organisations to address the socio-economic and developmental challenges in the communities.
He continued to say that these programmes are tailor-made to help Namibia address Millenium Development Goals.
In the mean time, vice chancellor for Open University of Tanzania, Professor Tolly Mbwete urged Africa (and Namibia in particular) to effectively exploit the potentials of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to further enhance delivery of higher education.
“When properly exploited, ICTs have a lot of potential in developing broad and generic skills such as problem solving, independent and collaborative learning as well as better communication in higher education,” Mbwete suggested.
Mbwete further noted that open and distance learning (ODL) has several benefits; “On the students’ part, the ODL mode of learning enables them to immediately use their newly aquired knowledge and skills. Also, through the ODL mode of learning, students do not have to leave their jobs, homes or self-employment while they study; i.e. they can study while working instead of the traditional option of either studying or working.”