Parliament to Deliberate On Polytech Transformation

The Polytechnic of Namibia is likely to start using its new name of the Namibia University of Science and Technology in the first quarter of this year, as almost all the necessary procedures have been completed to pave way for the transformation.

The Minister of Education, Dr David Namwandi, told New Era yesterday that all documentation and submission to Cabinet are done and deliberation with the Law Reform and Development Commission (LRDC) has also been finalised.

“Now, it is the responsibility of Parliament,” said Namwandi, adding that deliberations on the draft Bill for name change would be tabled when parliament opens in the beginning of February. Namwandi said it was good for the country to have two public universities.

The Director for Marketing and Communication at Polytechnic of Namibia, Kaitira Kandjii, is optimistic that the transformation would take place this year.

“On the Polytechnic side, all elements (for the transformation) have been done,” he added, saying that academic planning has also been altered and was ready to be rolled out as soon as the new Act is passed.

The Polytechnic of Namibia has mapped out a five-year plan to phase out diploma and certificate courses to prepare the transition to a university.

The institution’s Rector Tjama Tjivikua reportedly said that the Polytechnic’s status change would provide students with a greater choice in higher education, and a national environment in which they will not be discriminated against in respect of scholarships, loans, grants and qualifications.

Various consultative meetings were held with different stakeholders, including the Namibia National Students Organisation, Namibia Training Authority, Namibia Qualifications Authority and Namibia Institution of Public Administration and Management to discuss the prospective university status.

“The LRDC hopes that the consultative process it engages results in the building of an all-embracing consensus around the content of the legislation outlined in the Discussion Paper and that it further ensures that it commands the support of all key stakeholders in higher education, particularly towards the transformation of the Polytechnic into the NUST,” said Sacky Shanghala, LRDC chairperson at the time.

According to the LRDC discussion paper, a need was identified to institute a paradigm shift in order for the Polytechnic to be transformed from a technikon into a university. The transformation would largely be implemented through promulgation of establishing a new statute to repeal the Polytechnic of Namibia Act of 1994.

The newly proclaimed university would focus on applied research, modern infrastructure, community engagement, internationalisation and benchmarking, develop new technologies and crafts, among others.

Source : New Era