NQA Drags Feet On Zim Qualifications

TWENTY-EIGHT Namibian graduates who studied at institutions in Zimbabwe are having trouble convincing the Namibia Qualifications Authority (NQA) that their qualifications are legitimate.

This follows the arrest of 23 young Namibians who were using bogus qualifications from some Zimbabwean institutions in October last year.

Nine of the arrested individuals had allegedly used their fake qualifications to gain admission into the Namibian Defence Force and were undergoing military training at the time. Their cases are still pending.

NQA told The Namibian that it has filed 200 cases of bogus qualifications in the past three months.

“Consequently, this increasing high prevalence of qualifications fraud is like a rising tide which the NQA views as a critical national concern,” said NQA spokesperson Catherine Shipushu.

She, however, declined to comment on why the body was refusing to evaluate the qualifications of the 28 graduates.

Shipushu said the matter surrounding fraudulent qualifications obtained from bogus institutions in Zimbabwe is a matter of national concern which was handed over to the police following further investigations.

“Owing to the sub-judice status of the matter and the ongoing police investigations, the NQA is not at liberty to comment further details pertaining to the matter,” she said.

Shipushu further said a qualification is not deemed as fake purely on the premise that it was obtained from an unaccredited institution.

“Qualifications fraud refers to an individual laying claim to a qualification that has not been legitimately earned. The challenge with bogus institutions is that they operate in the shadows. These institutions can crop up anywhere in the country, and unfortunately due to limited resources, the NQA cannot place watchmen in every town in the country to look out for these elements.

“We therefore gly depend on the public to assist us in this regard by not enroling at any institution before they have verified its accreditation status with the NQA,” Shipushu said.

She added that unaccredited institutions continue to pose a great threat to quality education.

Four of the 28 graduates studied electronics, radio communications, auto mechanics and laboratory science at three polytechnic colleges in Zimbabwe under the auspices of the National Youth Services (NYS) from 2011 until 2013.

They told The Namibian this week that the NQA has been dragging its feet in evaluating their qualifications since 11 August last year.

“We were told the evaluation process would take 30 working days, but until now they have not evaluated our qualifications with the reason being the arrest of the few with the fake Ordinary Level qualifications from bogus institutions in Zimbabwe,” said Joseph Haindongo, one of the 28 students.

Haindongo said after the 30-day period ended, they inquired about the progress of their evaluations and the NQA has been giving them the same response that the case of those who were arrested was still under investigation by the police and the Anti- Corruption Commission.

Natangwe Shilulu, another graduate, said it was unfair of NQA to disregard their qualifications based on the case of the 23 people that were arrested. “That case has nothing to do with us. All we want is to be accredited so that we can start looking for jobs. As it is, our parents are getting impatient by the delay because we remain unemployed,” said Shilulu.

The graduates said they had studied at widely recognised institutions in Zimbabwe such as the Gweru Polytechnic, Kwekwe Polytechnic and Mutare Polytechnic. Polytechnical colleges in Zimbabwe are government-run institutions.

NYS spokesperson Johanna Kambala confirmed to The Namibian yesterday that NYS sponsored the youths to study at various training institutions in Zimbabwe.

Kambala also confirmed that Shilulu and Haindongo were part of those sent for studies to Zimbabwe by the NYS.

“It is imperative to note that the three institutions mentioned above are national institutions under the government of the Republic of Zimbabwe hence NYS deems them as legitimate training institutions in that country,” said Kambala.

She also said that NYS is aware of the dilemma the graduates are facing, hence NYS took an initiative to contact NQA directly through a letter on 29 November 2014 requesting to evaluate the qualifications.

The Namibian is in possession of a copy of the said letter.

“Unfortunately, NYS has not received feedback from NQA to date due to the pending police investigation on fake qualifications from some of the institutions in Zimbabwe,” she said, adding that NYS was trying it’s best to get an answer from NQA.

Source : The Namibian