The gripping experience that Namibian students went through at the Loudima Institute for Technical and Vocational Training since it opened in 2014 has forced most of the students to drop their studies and return home.
Out of more than 100 Namibian students who were enrolled at the institute, only 14 remained, according to figures provided by the Ministry of Higher Education, Training and Innovation.
Higher education minister Dr. Itah Kandjii-Murangi earlier this month led a delegation to Congo to meet with her counterpart Antoine Thomas Nicephore Filla Saint-Eudes(Minister of Technical and Vocational Training, Qualifying Education and Employment of Congo) and to visit the institute to assess the situation on the ground.
“The situation on the ground is that a lot of improvements have taken place at the institute with respect to the challenges previously brought to the attention of the Ministry of Higher Education, Training and Innovation,” said the ministry’s deputy permanent secretary Raimo Naanda when he responded to questions from The Patriot yesterday.
Students lamented the poor learning environment at the institute saying they do not have textbooks and the library is not resourced, coupled with inconsistent electricity supply as well as monthly allowances not being paid on time. The students also pleaded for basics such as toiletries.
Naanda said all those concerns are being care of while some have already been resolved. “Electricity was supplied to the institute by the Congolese government and it has contracted a Brazilian Company, Asper Bras Enterprise, to drill a borehole and to set up a water processing plant at the institute,” said Naanda.
On its part, Naanda said, Namibia donated a water purification system, books and medical to the clinic at the institute. “His Excellency the President of the Republic of Congo donated two busses to the institute,” he said adding that academic activities at the institute are ongoing and the students are coping “very well”.
According to Naanda: “Concerns pertaining to lack of textbooks was brought to the attention of our Ministry, hence, the reasons our Ministry donated books to the institute. There are adequate study material at the institute and as such the learning environment at the institute cannot be compromised.”
Asked when the next intake will take place, Naanda said “ as soon as the rehabilitation work is completed there will be another Namibia student’s intake for the institute”.
“As to when the students should report for training, details will be worked out with the management of the institute and this will have to be done in the shortest possible time,” he said.
The deputy PS underscored that the institute has great potential to provide relevant skills to the students “so that they can take up their rightful place in the socio-economic development of their respective countries.”
“It has to be mentioned that there is a strong political will from both governments to ensure that the long standing relationship between the two nations does not die,” he said.
Loudima Institute for Technical and Vocational Training was established with the aim to create a cadre of graduates with competencies and skills in line with national and international standards in order to meet the demands of industry – locally and internationally.
The development and rehabilitation of the institute culminates from an agreement signed between the two governments in July 2007.
The governments of Namibia and Congo signed an agreement to create the Loudima Institute for Technical and Vocational Training – following a decision by the two Heads of State, Sassou Nguesso and Pohamba – to perpetuate the historical relations of the former Loudima Technical Secondary School site under South West Africa People Organisation (Swapo), and to develop a multi-faceted co-operation mutually beneficial to the two states.
The agreement includes, inter-alia, the rehabilitation of the old site, which had been used as a training centre of scientific technological and professional elite of the executives of Swapo.
At the opening in 2014, Loudima Institute for Technical and Vocational Training was hailed as a symbol of solidarity, friendship and commitment between the people of the Republic of Congo and the Republic of Namibia.