Namibia lacks qualified academia

WINDHOEK; Namibia lacks suitably qualified academic staff at higher education institutions in the areas of postgraduate and research. This is amongst the findings of a study conducted the National Council for Higher Education (NCHE).

The study was conducted in 2010 at the University of Namibia (UNAM), the Polytechnic of Namibia (PoN) and the International University of Management (IUM).

According to the findings of the study, there was a lack of academics with the required qualifications to provide the needed boost in postgraduate and research output programs.

Launching that study in the capital on Thursday, NCHE’s Executive Director, Mocks Shivute, explained that there has been deliberate efforts under the Education and Training Sector Improvement Programme (ETSIP) funding through the NCHE to address staff capacities at public higher education institutions.

Since 2007, approximately N.dollars 6.4 million have been invested in academic staff development at public higher education institutions. Shivute indicated that a total of 108 academic staff from UNAM and the PoN have benefited from this funding.

He announced that out of these, 50 have successfully completed their Masters Degrees and PhD’s, and 55 are still studying. Three have not completed their studies.

Said Shivute: “Although, it might have been too early for the impact to be visible during the study, this observation might also be pointing to the need to re-assess effectiveness of what we have been doing, perhaps to redouble efforts and resources or simply to change strategies.”

He noted that the study further highlighted the absence of a systematic database as a serious challenge to planning and research by bodies associated with higher education.

Shivute said that the Higher Education Management Information System (HEMIS) has been designed and that the NCHE was ready to collect the necessary data to assist in determining public funding, researching and reporting on higher education performance indicators.

He conceded that there are weak governance and management structures at the higher education institutions, and lack of capacity to develop institutional policies. This, he said, was exacerbated by a lack of capacity at institutional level to implement the instruments effectively.

The study was aimed at examining the scientific content of postgraduate programmes at higher education institutions and to assess their relevance to the goals of Vision 2030 and the Fourth National Development Plan (NDP4).