Government has assured tertiary students who are funded by Namibia Student Financial Aid Fund(NSFAF) that despite the tough economic climate, their funding will not be affected.
Minister of Higher Education, Training and Innovation, Dr. Itah Kandjii-Murangi, made the announcement yesterday when she laid bare the 2017 plans for her ministry.
“Despite the economic hardship faced by government, our Ministry through the Namibia Students Financial Assistance Fund (NSFAF) is committed to providing financial support to needy students to enable them to continue with their studies at institutions of higher learning,” she said.
She added that: “At this juncture it is worth noting that government is engaged in fiscal consolidation, and as a result it is likely that the operational budget of the Ministry will be reduced with one-and-a-half billion Namibian dollars (an approximatly 40% cut on the budget). To respond to this cut, the Ministry will be forced to make difficult choices regarding what programs and projects to allow and not allow.”
According to Kandjii-Murangi, the Ministry will construct two VTCs (Khorixas and Omuthiya) as well as start the process of creating the Centre of Excellence in Technical Vocational Education (CETE) that will spearhead the TVET transformation process.
She also vowed that the national job attachment and apprenticeship policy will be finalized and that a National Human Resources Development Strategy will be developed to facilitate the implementation of the National Human Resources Development Plan.
To improve governance, the minister also indicated that the Acts of the various institutions under the ministry will be reviewed.
She said plans to establish a Center of Excellence for Technical and Vocational Education and Training at an advanced stage, to holistically review and develop a harmonized and properly bench-marked national TVET system, underpinned by a uniform, current and industry linked curricula model.
“The Governors of the regions without public TVET institutions (Kunene, Hardap, Kavango West, Oshikoto), were requested to avail land for the construction of new VTCs. Three obliged, and institutional land had been allocated for the construction of new VTCs in these regions. Construction of the Kunene and Oshikoto VTCs and the servicing of the allocated land in Kavango West, are planned for this year, while consultations and engagements regarding the Hardap Region VTC are ongoing,” said the minister.
There are two options for Hardap, Kandjii-Murangi said, either to expand Kaikanagab Training Centre, to accommodate the formal VTC programs alongside the Ministry of Youth programs or to allocate a separate piece of land for the Hardap VTC.
“Expansion of TVET access in the region dictates that instructors’ education is upgraded and strengthened. In this regard, plans are afoot to start the work to transform the Namibia University of Science and Technology TVET Instructors’ Unit into a fully-fledged Faculty of TVET Education this year,” she said.
Government has approached different Embassies and development partners to assist with the realization of the project.
The minister also announced some of the ministry’s accomplishments in 2016.
Last year agriculture as a critical trade was registered on the National Qualifications Framework (NQF) after new national qualifications and unit standards for the Agriculture sector were developed.
The VET Levy from 2 703 employers stood at N$809 million of which half is paid back to the employers.
“As stated before, this levy was introduced to encourage employers to upskill their workers and thus 50% of the levy is paid back to employers based on evidence that they have trained their employees, 35% is used for critical TVET programmes,” she explained.
The Ministry is also busy reviewing and finalizing the crafting of a Policy on Higher Education, and the work on this started in October 2016.
To expand tertiary access and ensure quality education, six private Higher Education institutions were registered in 2016.
“In our quest to enhance capacity of academics, under the ETSIP Program’s Staff Development, 35 academic staff from UNAM and NUST were financially supported to enhance their qualifications.
The Ministry has initiated a Graduate Tracer Study that aims at establishing where graduates are accommodated in our economy, and whether there is a correlation between their academic skills and their areas of employment,” Kandjii-Murangi noted.