The University of Namibia (UNAM), Polytechnic of Namibia (PoN) and the International University of Management (IUM), are setting up systems to trace former students to evaluate whether they are employed within the sectors of their studies.
This comes as the three institutions prepare to release the NAMTRACE survey which was launched last year. The Namibia Tracer Studies Survey (NAMTRACE) which was launched last year is an initiative aimed at obtaining information on the current employment and economic status of individuals who graduated from these institutions.
Information and Institutional Research Manager at PoN, Efraim Dumeni, said the research has been completed and they will proceed to the next level of data analysis.
He added that by the end of this month they will be able to share the outcomes of the research. “We have the contact details of our graduates, which enables us to conduct an online research,” says Dumeni.
He added that the research findings will be able to reveal which fields of studies are no longer relevant or not on demand.
According to Dumeni, there are some fields of studies which were only needed some years back, but now the market is demanding for new skills. The research will help institutions to determine whether or not to introduce new fields of studies, depending on what is most in demand.
UNAM’s Public Relations Officer, John Haufiku, said the university has not yet done research to find out whether graduates are working under their areas of specialization apart from the research they conduct to determine the market demand.
“The University is currently busy with the call-out of graduates who left the university years ago, for us to be able to keep and start keeping proper records,” says Haufiku. He explained that the programme is run on a voluntary basis where graduates will have to volunteer themselves to submit their details to the institution. The program is looking at how long it takes for graduates to get jobs, what type of jobs they get and how they are performing in their workplace.
He added that the university is facing a challenge of students who are studying Bachelor of Art not having enough time allocated for job attachment. These students, in most cases, are forced to enroll in fields of studies which they have no interest in.
He further noted that there are limitations placed by donors when offering funding to students.
“They are selective to which areas of specialization they fund. There are so many specializations that are underfunded or sometimes not funded at all but they are on demand.
“For instance, you will hardly find stakeholders wanting to fund someone who is interested for a Foreman training (Building construction), and these people are on demand because a lot of construction is going on in Namibia,” Haufiku explained.
The university does consultations after every 5 years to see to it that the provided content in various courses fits what is required in the market. Government ministries and other stakeholders play a crucial role by exposing what gap has to be filled in the market and suggesting what content would be appropriate for certain courses.
The three institutions implemented special websites where their graduates participate in the NAMTRACE study by submitting their details.
The NAMTRACE study is the secondary type of study following the graduate Tracer that was conducted to cover graduates from 1999 and 2008 from PoN and UNAM.
Separately, the Ministry of Education is set to undertake research to look into the appointment of teachers for subjects in their areas of specialization. According to the Ministry of Education’s Public Relations Officer, Johanna Absalom, the plan is at its initial stage.
Adding that the ministry hasn’t conducted any research on whether university graduates are working under their area of specialization. She further explained that schools strive to ensure that teachers are appointed and teach subjects in their areas of specialization. The Ministry looks at subjects combinations offered by the University of Namibia, and teachers are appointed in line with subject combination.
“The research is necessary, as the appointment of teachers in areas of specialization culminates to the delivery of quality education, which we as a Ministry, strive to provide,” says Absalom.