7 March 2018

Namibia: Proliferation of Unaccredited Colleges a Cause for Concern

Windhoek — The director of Southern Business School (SBS) of Namibia, Albin Jacobs, says media reports about students being left hanging by education institutions, both locally and internationally, are very troubling.

He said every day diligent students of all ages enrol in private higher education institutions that advertise across all mediums and are very visible on social media, promising qualifications and ultimately success.

Jacobs noted the lack of places at the established tertiary institutions makes prospective students easy and vulnerable targets.

He added that higher education institutions complement the efforts by government to provide a higher education system that would develop the required skills in the Namibian economy.

However, he says, the challenge arises when private higher education providers operate without accreditation or recognition from the Namibia Qualifications Authority (NQA).

"With fewer than 40 percent of Grade 12 students getting the necessary results to qualify for entrance to tertiary education, a huge number of prospective students are looking for other options. It is at this point where private higher education institutions must pick up the baton. This is the point where private higher education institutions must fill the gaps in the system, by complementing the opportunities created by government. Many of the private higher education institutions do just that," he maintained.

He explained they provide an alternative route on the journey of higher education and lifelong learning to many Namibians.

According to Jacobs, many of them serve as a bridge between secondary education and tertiary education.

However, he said, students' pursuit of a recognised degree often goes up in smoke as some private higher education institutions operate without accreditation or recognition from the NQA.

This, he says, is a major problem as Namibians determined to get an education get duped into paying fees for qualifications that have no value and no standing with prospective employers.

"It is heart-wrenching to tell a student that the qualification that took three years to complete, sometimes under the most challenging of circumstances, is worth nothing."

He said it is for this reason that SBS Namibia ensures that all its qualifications are accredited and recognised by the NQA.

Jacobs believes that private higher education institutions must be committed in supporting the NQA in the promotion of quality education and training in Namibia through the development and management of a comprehensive national qualifications framework.

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Jacobs further explained that education is vital for a nation and its youth, adding it opens doors that were closed before and provides a country with the academic and intellectual foundation to move forward.

He said that in Namibia, like in other African nations, the youth are always called to action, with education the battle cry.

"Hard work, dedication and commitment are hailed as the bastions of achieving the dream of being a graduate from an accredited and recognised institution. As so often, youngsters and aspiring professionals need to heed the saying 'buyer beware' when it comes to education, much like in the rest of life. Simply enrolling at a higher education institution and paying large sums of money for a course does not guarantee a recognised qualification," he advised.

SBS Namibia is accredited by the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) and recognised by the NQA in Namibia.

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