Namibia: Over 80 Marine Graduates Jobless

22 September 2020

SOME 83 graduates in fisheries and acquatic sciences from the University of Namibia's Sam Nujoma campus near Henties Bay cannot find jobs.

Iriya Jona, a graduate, revealed this when she and eight other graduates met with Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) leader McHenry Venaani at parliament yesterday.

Jona said only 32 out of 115 students could secure jobs between 2015 and now - leaving 83 students unemployed.

She said the coastal campus yields fewer than 20 graduates per year in this particular field of study.

When the students approach the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine

Resources for employment, they are asked what the course was about, or are referred to other ministries who cannot assist them either, Jona said.

"Some of the graduates have become teachers while some are at home. It appears there is no coordination between the university and the ministry. When we tell the ministry of fisheries what we studied, they ask us 'what is that?', or we are being sent around," she said.

She said after she graduated, she started a seaweed business which produces chicken feed and animal feed supplements.

Jona could not obtain financial assistance from the fisheries ministry and had to get funding from institutions outside the fishing sector, such as Old Mutual, she said.

Among the unemployed graduates is Veronica Kapula, who is pursuing a doctoral degree in a fisheries-related field.

Kapula is not only unemployed, but also could not secure study loans from the Namibia Students Financial Assistance Fund for her master's and doctoral degrees.

The group's spokesperson, Angelica Veii-Mberirua, said the assumption is that their qualification is limited to fisheries - hence the exclusion from job opportunities.

"There are young brilliant minds willing to make their contributions elsewhere, and would like to be given the opportunity," she said.

She said their course included various modules compatible with sectors such as natural resource management, oceanology, microbiology, statistics, environmental impact assessment and environmental science.

Venaani implored the group not to lose hope.

"Don't tear apart, remain focused and have the ability to think bigger," he said.

He promised the graduates he would have an urgent meeting with minister of fisheries and marine resources Albert Kawana to bring their plight to his attention.

Venaani also urged fishing companies to absorb the graduates as well as unemployed fishermen at Lüderitz and Walvis Bay.

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