President Hage Geingob says students who study hard and numerous sacrifices towards their academic work are destined to make it in life as the future belongs to those who prepare for it at the present. Speaking at the 22nd graduation ceremony of the Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST) formerly known as the Polytechnic of Namibia in the capital yesterday, Geingob said education is the “passport to the future”. Borrowing the words of renowned American activist Malcolm X, Geingob said: “Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those that prepare for it today”. He further noted: “You (graduates) have taken the appropriate steps to prepare yourself for tomorrow. Through many years of dedication, hard work and sacrifices, you have earned yourself a passport to the future. You can now confidently look forward to tomorrow, having prepared for it today.
“I am confident to say that your educational, training and learning experience at NUST has been a time for discovery and self-development. We believe you have developed your intellect to analyse complex ideas and think ahead, innovate and lead people and institutions in a multi-cultural environment,” said Geingob. Geingob told the graduates that they need equip themselves with traits such as creativity and innovation “which are the benchmarks of an educated person.” In addition, the President took note of the various undergraduate and postgraduate degrees which he said were in-line with national development plans. “When I look at these courses, I am confident in the fact that NUST is focused on producing young people with qualifications that are tailor made for the 21st century job market. Moreover, these courses are also in line with key priority areas identified in our developmental plans,” the President said.
Some of the qualifications that were conferred on Thursday included management science related courses such as National Diplomas in Human Resource Management, Marketing and Sales, Bachelor of Logistics and Supply Chain Management, Bachelor of Tourism Management. Master of Leadership and Change Management qualifications were also conferred on the day. Geingob highlighted the importance of vocational education when he indicated that government identified the promotion of high quality Vocational Education Training (TVET) as a key strategy to address youth unemployment. “I outlined the fact that a key strategy that Government is deploying to arrest youth unemployment is the promotion of high quality Vocational Education and Skills Training,” Geingob stated. Under the Harambee Prosperity Plan (HPP), government has set a target to increase TVET enrolments to 25 000 students by 2019. Geingob said the strategy addresses government’s broader objective of becoming a knowledge based society that is characterized by a workforce with specialized skills and innovative capacity. Geingob stressed that Namibia must embrace science and technology if it is to realize the Vision 2030 dream.
“We will have to become more innovative, technologically advanced, and we have to embrace – in an applied manner – science and research. Human Capital, must be at the centre of our drive to becoming an industrialized Nation by 2030. That is why we continue to spend the bulk of our financial resources in the education sector,” highlighted Geingob. The President said he was initially concerned when he learned that the Polytechnic of Namibia would be transformed into a fully-fledged university. Geingob said: “I was slightly concerned that we would be moving from an institution of higher education, which offered students an opportunity to specialize in vocational and technical fields of study, to an institution of higher learning at which students would take on undergraduate and postgraduate courses,” he said.
However, after carrying out some research, Geingob said his concerns were put to bed after learning about the difference between an ordinary university and a university of science and technology. “The latter (University of Science and Technology), offers more technological, career directed applied educational programmes, focused on innovation, problem solving, research and product development,” Geingob explained. “There is an imposing responsibility on every public official, office bearer and citizen, to address our state of being: The way we live and behave, the way we educate, the way we care for the sick and the weak, and the way we plan for the future.” Geingob urged the graduates to adopt a culture of efficiency in order to become productive citizens.
“Society has invested in you and you must re-invest your knowledge and energy in society. You are at crossroads in your lives. Many things await your engagement: opportunities, responsibilities, liabilities and risks. You are the workforce of today and tomorrow. Once you receive your respective diplomas and degrees, you will hold the key to our country’s development and prosperity. In every way, your country’s prosperity depends on your collective and personal contribution.”