Relationship between industry and academia essential for quality graduates: Ekandjo

Partnerships between the corporate world and universities harvest quality graduates and helps to close the gap between industry needs and the curriculum said Patron of the Cooperative Education Unit (CEU), Tim Ekandjo.

Speaking at the Industry Recognition Breakfast awards ceremony which was organised under the CEU on Thursday, Ekandjo said well rounded and experienced graduates feed the market and closes the gap that employers often complain about.These programmes give students a well rounded experience and give them employability skills that are in need and the university continues to receive feedback from employers on the quality and relevance as well as the curriculum to ensure it is in alignment of industry needs, Ekandjo said.

He added that through companies taking in students for work integrated learning (WIL) and the industry partaking in university curriculum reform it produces employable graduates.

The CEU which forms part of Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST) works with companies to place students for WIL programmes.

Also speaking at the same event, NUST Deputy Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Andrew Niikondo concurring with Ekandjo said corporates create the competitive advantage by working with students as well as training and mentoring them.

Students hit the ground running when they enter the job market and employers do not have to waste time training employees because they can employ these graduates as they have first hand experience, Niikondo said.

For the last three years, the Ministry of Health and Social Services has placed 348 students, City of Windhoek took in 245 students while Motor Vehicle Accident (MVA) Fund took in 179 and therefore NUST awarded these companies for continuously receiving students for their internships.

Other companies include Namibia Institute of Pathology (NIP), Namibian Blood Transfusion Service, Bank of Namibia, TransNamib, NamWater and Mobile Telecommunications (MTC) among others.

The WIL programmes run from six weeks to six months and a year at times.

Source: Namibia Press Agency