Windhoek — Higher Education Minister Dr Itah Kandjii-Murangi says Namibia needs graduates that drive knowledge and innovation and in so doing enhance its global competitiveness as a nation.
Equally, she stated Namibia needs highly skilled people to transform the economy as articulated in the Harambee Prosperity Plan (HPP).
She made the remarks yesterday during the official launch of the Strengthening of Quality Assurance in Higher Education in Africa Capacity Building Training Project.
The project aims to support 10 African states to strengthen capacity in quality assurance and the harmonisation of efforts throughout the different regions on the continent. About 100 quality assurance practitioners from 12 Namibian accredited institutions of higher learning including other quality assurance agencies, the National Training Authority and the National Council for Higher Education are taking part in the capacity building training.
She said the €48 000 (approximately N$748.8 million) financial and expertise contributed by the Shenzhen states and Unesco towards the funding for this project is appreciated.
The minister said in order to ensure the quality and relevance of education, there is a need for a renewed commitment to consistently strengthen the higher education system in Namibia, in line with international standards by instilling a culture of quality managed through quality assurance frameworks that are also able to effectively measure performance.
With the help of international partners, she said Namibia will be able to further develop quality assurance mechanisms, and implement the necessary programmes and qualifications and thus contribute to the enhancement of trans-national mobility of leaners.
She said the importance of quality education can never be overemphasised.
"I therefore call on the agencies under the ministry, the professional bodies and private sector to develop a stronger and cooperative relationship in order to support the institutions of higher learning to deliver quality through capacity building in terms of programmes and teaching, as part of the quality assurance process," she directed.
At the same event, the University of Namibia (Unam) Vice-Chancellor Professor Kenneth Matengu said national quality assurance agencies and higher education institutions alike need to establish a more comprehensive type of dynamic and systematic quality enhancement, in which evaluation reliably triggers improvement.
He expressed concern there is a proliferation of institutions of higher learning in Namibia and elsewhere in the world. Matengu maintained students have a wide variety of universities and colleges to choose from, largely considering the course offerings and cost of the various courses on offer.
He said young people are desperate for education since they see it as one of the few ways out of poverty and into prosperity.
"However, the question needs to be asked whether students get their money's worth and whether the courses that they are accepted for provide them with a basis to acquire the necessary skills that will propel this country into an industrialised nation BY 2030. We cannot escape the fact that if we want to build strong universities which are renowned and recognised all over the world, we must build capacity for quality assurance that meets international standards," Matengu noted.