President Hifikepunye Pohamba pledged Government’s continued support for educational institutions such as the Polytechnic of Namibia (PoN) at the institution’s 17th graduation held at the Safari Hotel in Windhoek last Friday.
PoN registered 1108 graduates last week who joined 20 000 more graduates who have graduated from the institution over the past 16 years.
“Our Government will continue to allocate significant financial resources from the national budget towards the education sector. Since the attainment of our independence, the education sector has received not less than 20% of the national budget every year and the figure is increasing over the years,” Pohamba said.
The education sector received N$9.4b in the current financial year, representing 30% of the national budget - N$2b less than what it received last year.
The President further called on the private sector and stakeholders to join hands with Government in order to realise the dream of creating an educated and knowledge-based society, while reiterating Government’s committment towards education.
Moreover, he urged graduants to apply their newly-acquired skills and knowledge in order to overcome national challenges such as poverty, unemployment as well as underdevelopment.
In addition, Pohamba said that such skills are not only important for the socio-develepment agenda but can also prove essential for research.
“It has the potential to strenghten research and standardise the production and dissemination of knowledge. It can also foster international co-operation and solidarity amongst students and academic staff at different institutions. Moreover, it will promote the improvement of teaching standards, while facilitating the exchange of best practices and the transfer of appriopriate technologies,” he said then acknowledged the prestigious Silver Pigeon Award won by the PoN’s Architecture Department, for the best contribution at the 2012 International Architect and Design Showcase in London, scooping the prize away before 35 other participating countries.
“This is indeed a fantastic achievement, which shows that our tertiary institutions have come of age and are gaining recognition amongst their peers at the international level,” he said.
According to Pohamba, education is one of the most important national priorities and should be seen as a catalyst in the socio-economic development of the country as well as for the improvement of the nation’s living conditions.
Meanwhile, the chairperson of PoN council, Niilo Taapopi, said only 56 out of the 130 qualifications are registered with the Namibia Qualifications Agency (NQA). He added; “This is a critical exercise for the Polytechnic as it provides us an opportunity to review the areas in which the students are being trained and it is also an opportunity to re-evaluate the content and relevance of such training.”