Need arises for TVET to accommodate 76,000 students

Martin Endjala

Regina Ambambi, the Chairperson of the Association of Technical and Vocational Education and Training Institutions in Namibia (ATVETIN), has highlighted the urgent need for Technical Vocational Education Training (TVET) institutions to expand their capacity.

According to Ambambi, accommodating approximately 76,000 learners is crucial to keep youth off the streets and engaged in productive activities, assuming that only a few of them enter direct employment.

This necessity was underscored following ATVETIN’s analysis of the recent Namibia Senior Secondary Certificate Ordinary Level (NSSCO) results, released on January 10, 2024.

Ambambi noted that the performance in this national assessment significantly impacts the characteristics of new intakes at TVET institutions. “Understanding learner performance is vital for tailoring our training programs effectively,” she said.

Ambambi referred to data from July 2020, released by the Ministry, showing that around 69 percent of Grade 1 enrollees were unlikely to continue to Grade 10.

With a substantial number of ‘dropouts,’ these individuals become potential candidates for TVET training.

Despite the increasing demand, the current capacity of TVET institutions is not expected to see a significant rise from the 34,900 trainees enrolled in 2019, as per Namibia Training Authority (NTA) figures.

Ambambi emphasized the importance of TVET in providing life-changing opportunities for employment and self-employment, urging stakeholders to strategize on enhancing access to skills development.

A significant challenge identified is the struggle of potential trainees in STEM subjects, crucial for many TVET qualifications.

Ambambi pointed out the concerning performance in Mathematics, where 27.6 percent of NSSCO candidates were ungraded, and 47.6 percent achieved grades E to G.

“This indicates a need for bridging courses to strengthen the foundation in STEM subjects for new TVET entrants,” she suggested.

However, Ambambi cautioned that bridging programs do not guarantee success and called for the NTA and the Namibia Student Financial Assistance Fund to consider funding these programs. ATVETIN is ready to advocate for this change.

She also stressed the need to revisit the STEM curriculum, ensuring it is relevant to the trainees’ occupational areas.

“The focus should be on practical and realistic learning that resonates with the trainees’ real-world experiences,” Ambambi added.

Furthermore, Ambambi pointed out the growing interest in short courses for reskilling and upskilling current workers and unemployed graduates, a trend supported by groups like the Employers Federation.

These courses could serve as initial stepping stones for skill acquisition.

ATVETIN is keen on collaborating with various TVET stakeholders to explore these educational opportunities and meet the growing demand for technical and vocational training in Namibia.

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