Pon Is Being Transformed

The Minister of Education, Dr David Namwandi, is pleased to see that the decision of Cabinet to transform the Polytechnic of Namibia into the Namibian University of Science and Technology is being implemented.

A report commissioned by government titled, “Report of comprehensive and holistic review and reform of the higher education system in Namibia related to its contribution to the achievement of Vision 2030,” had made suggestions on the Polytechnic’s future management. The report suggested that the “Polytechnic has done very well, but needs to cut down on commercial courses and focus on science, engineering and technology.”

The same report noted that “since the Polytechnic is already offering a number of degree and post-degree courses, it will be prudent at this stage to effect the recommended name change.” Given the fact that consultation on the transformation of the Polytechnic into a fully-fledged university has already started between various stakeholders, Namwandi urged for wider public discussion to garner broader input.

“There are a number of principles which need to be embedded into the consultative process, which would assist me as the Minister in tabling the resulting proposed law in Cabinet in the National Assembly,” he said.

A principle he outlined is the national character of an institution such as the Polytechnic to be a university, saying it should be paramount.

“Let us depersonalise and avoid our interests [for the benefit of] the greater interests of the institution. Failure to do so would amount to tailoring of a process towards persons, and not the institution in the wider sense,” he said.

Equally, he noted that all input was relevant, adding: “All persons making input ought to have had a view, which you may agree with or disagree with, however, it is important for us as policy makers to know what it is our people desire to see happen from or with our public institutions.”

He also emphasised that Namibia meets its developmental targets and that institutions such as the Polytechnic be capable of preparing young men and women to contribute to the realisation of national goals such as Vision 2030, the Millennium Development Goals and other government goals and objectives.

“In addition, these institutions need to occupy an intellectual vacuum currently being filled by commentators in the media in much negative fashion, and this intellectual activity ought to serve as an informative medium for government and government institutions in the fulfilment of their functions and objectives,” he said.

Namwandi said there was a need to ensure that the consultative process produces a law he would be able to take to the floor of the National Assembly by June when parliament resumes for business.

The transformation will be guided by the enactment of the new establishing Act.

Source : New Era