Rundu — The Polytechnic of Namibia (PoN) has reacted strongly to claims that it is facing a "critical shortage of lecturers" in its engineering department.
A recent New Era report quoted senior academics at the PoN, who fearing possible repercussions requested anonymity, but who confirmed the state of affairs in respect of the institution's teaching personnel as reported. The PoN also denied claims by its former Student Representative Council president Eben Kamatoto, that the institution posted notices informing students that the BTech programme by the Department of Electrical Engineering will no longer be offered.
In a statement issued on the subject, PoN says there was no need to place such a notice. Kamatoto, himself a former engineering student had said the shortage of lecturers at PoN forced him to transfer his academic credits to the Cape Peninsula University to complete his studies. PoN says the "enrolment procedure was clarified during an announcement which stated that only those students in the second year of the programme may proceed with the elective courses and the project subsequent to the successful completion of the compulsory courses last year."
Kamatoto however said at the time students noted there was a problem with their courses after they experienced difficulties with the online registration process.
"The Bachelor of Technology in Power and Electronic Engineering has been offered since 2003 on a part-time basis over a two-year period in two-year cycles. In other words, the last intake was in 2012 and the next intake will be in January 2014," according to a statement from the PoN.
PoN's spokesperson Kaitira Kandjii maintains "the article covered a case of a student(s) in one department, but the headline implied that there is a crisis in the entire institution, which is not the case."
PoN faces "a shortage of qualified lecturers in the engineering field, and Poly is not the only institution with this problem," he said.
Kandjii further said that the PoN has approached countries in Europe to assist with lecturers from their universities, but to no avail.
"We have however entered into bilateral agreements with some universities, which offer their lecturers to us to come and teach block courses during certain times of the year when they are available."