Transformation of Polytechnic Under Discussion

FOLLOWING cabinet’s approval of the long debated name change, a Discussion Paper on the Transformation of the Polytechnic of Namibia into the Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST) was released yesterday.

Although cabinet last year gave the go-ahead for the institution’s transformation, the chairperson of the Law Reform and Development Commission (LRDC), Sacky Shanghala, said the establishment of an Act is required to accomplish this goal.

The consultation meeting saw various stakeholders, including the Namibia National Students Organisation, Namibia Training Authority, Namibia Qualifications Authority and Namibia Institution of Public Administration and Management, as well as other educational key players attending to discuss the prospective university status.

Shanghala said the commission will be holding another round of consultations in the regions for the next three weeks.

“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,” he said.

According to the discussion paper, a need has been identified to institute a paradigm shift for the Polytechnic from a technikon into a university and that the transformation will largely be implemented through promulgation of establishing a new statute to repeal the current Polytechnic of Namibia Act of 1994.

The meeting was conducted by the LRDC to facilitate the review process and the drafting of the new law by virtue of its mandate provided by the LRDC Act.

The LRDC’s process of reform involves the engagement of stakeholders and hosting of workshops and conferences.

Once this process is complete, said Shanghala, the NUST Bill will then be taken to the National Assembly for amendment (NA), thereafter to the House of Review, the National Council, and then back to the NA before President Hifikepunye Pohamba officially signs it into an Act.

He said the Act will also be amended to change the titles of rector and vice rector to chancellor and vice chancellor.

Shanghala said the discussion paper will be circulated among various stakeholders who represent the spectrum and varied interests of higher education in Namibia for criticism and comment.

“Its purpose is to initiate and stimulate debate and serve as a basis for a final report that will be available to the Minister of Justice to recommend for possible enactment into legislation,” he said.

Source : The Namibian