Namibia takes one step closer to National Qualifications Standards Policy

Niël Terblanché

Namibia is on the cusp of adopting a national policy on qualifications standards for higher education institutions.

The National Policy on Qualifications Standards Validation Workshop, a culmination of a comprehensive nationwide consultation process, was officially opened in Windhoek, signalling a crucial phase in the development of this landmark policy.

Dr. Alfred van Kent, the Executive Director of the Ministry of Higher Education, Innovation, and Technology, voiced his optimism at the workshop, expressing hope that the policy would be implemented before the end of the 2024-2025 financial year.

He said the workshop represents a key moment in Namibia’s education sector, aimed at establishing credible, legitimate, and widely understood qualifications standards across all higher education institutions in the country.

Van Kent added that the nationwide consultations led by the Namibia Qualifications Authority (NQA) and various stakeholders emphasise the commitment to a collaborative approach in shaping the future of higher education in Namibia.

“These standards are set to guide the development, implementation, and quality assurance of learning programs leading to qualifications, ensuring that Namibia’s educational offerings remain competitive and relevant on a global scale,” he said.

Dr. van Kent stressed the importance of the validation process, which integrates insights from regional consultations into a cohesive policy framework.

“This approach not only ensures that the policy reflects the diverse needs and aspirations of Namibians from all regions but also lays a solid foundation for the modernization of the National Qualifications Framework (NQF),” he added.

According to van Kent, the policy’s development is a response to the need for a more specific and comprehensive framework for qualifications standards, which the current NQF does not fully address.

“By focusing on individual learning fields and qualifications, the policy aims to enhance the comparability and compliance of education and training outcomes across the country,” he said.

Khomas Regional Governor, Laura McLeod-Katjirua of the Khomas region lauded the policy framework’s potential to transform the education and training landscape, offering equal opportunities for all Namibians to excel. According to the governor, the emphasis on work-integrated learning and internships underlines the policy’s commitment to aligning education with market demands and preparing graduates for the complexities of the modern workforce.

Participants were urged to contribute their expertise and insights to refine the draft policy, ensuring it meets the highest standards of quality and relevance while the Ministry of Higher Education, Technology, and Innovation awaits the validation of the policy because of the eventual positive impact that it will have on the nation’s educational system.

Through collaborative efforts, the country aspires to build a stronger, more prosperous, and secure future for its citizens, leveraging education as a key driver of socio-economic development.

The national policy on qualifications standards is set to usher in a new era of excellence and innovation in higher education.

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