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Minister of Higher Education Dr Itah Kandjii-Murangi says Namibia has a diverse higher education and training sector, which comprises of two public institutions and 44 private training providers that offer training across various sectors.
She said there are currently close to 30 000 government-funded students pursuing various fields of study locally and at institutions across the globe.
The National Council for Higher Education (NCHE) 2014 Statistical Yearbook, which was released this year, shows that Namibia’s Gross Tertiary Education Enrolment Ratio (GTEER) was one of the highest in the sub-Saharan region between 2013 and 2014.
Namibia’s GTEER of 18.3 percent in 2012, 19.1 percent in 2013 and 20.2 percent during 2014 is comparable to South Africa at 19.7 percent in 2013 and higher than Swaziland at 5.3 percent in 2013. Zimbabwe was at 5.9 percent in 2013 and Mozambique at 6 percent during 2014.
The minister said the rapid growth of the education and training sector is indicative of a growing demand for qualifications, as more and more students are seeking study opportunities as a way to secure a better future.
Besides the University of Namibia (Unam) and the Namibia University of Science and Technology (Nust), the country has about 44 accredited training providers. But although Namibia has recorded increasing growth and access in the education and training sector, the minister said, there remains a lot to be done.
« Our collective aspiration must be to build a world-class education and training sector, which is globally competitive. Above all, education must be truly empowering, transformational and responsive to the needs of individual learners, employers and national developmental objectives, as articulated in the national development plans and the Harambee Prosperity Plan, » she noted.
She further said educators have a critical role to play in generating knowledge and skills that contribute to strengthen priority areas identified as essential for the country’s socio-economic development.
The higher education minister further called for a stronger cooperative relationship and constructive engagement between training providers, curriculum developers and industries to ensure that curricula are shaped around industry needs and are relevant to the development goals of the country.
« It is through collaboration that we can successfully develop a pool of talented Namibians with the right skills and knowledge to drive innovation and national development.
« We must deliberately seek to understand the current and future skills needs, strive towards training graduates across all the essential fields and most importantly, ensure that they are employment-ready, » the minister said.