NIED hosts first graduation ceremony for learners with special needs

Martin Endjala

The Namibia Institute of Education Development (NIED) held its first-ever graduation ceremony for learners with special needs at Okahandja last week.

The ceremony marked the culmination of the Certification in Basic Pre-Vocational Skills (CBPVS) programme, a pioneering initiative by NIED in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, Arts, and Culture (MoEAC).

Sixty learners graduated from the CBPVS programme, which equips learners with essential pre-vocational skills to prepare them for the transition from school to the workforce.

The deputy minister of disability affairs, Alexia Manombe-Ncube, who is officiating at the event, asserts that people with special needs have abilities and that this should not prevent them from showcasing their talent.

“We, as the disability ministry, are proud and pleased to witness the awarding of graduates to learners with special needs.” Disability is not an inability, and today we are witnessing that there is ability in disability. To the graduates, go out there and make a difference in the corporate world; make this experience of your life count,” said Manombe-Ncube.

Manombe-Ncube stated that one of the ministry’s concerns is the high unemployment rate among persons with disabilities.

She said that with the skills and knowledge the graduates have acquired through their studies, they will contribute positively by reducing the country’s unemployment rate.

She said the CBPVS is a great breakthrough because it aims to prepare learners when they leave school by providing them with a platform to showcase their talent and transform them into productive members of society.

She praised the education ministry for recognizing the diversity that exists in society and providing such a program.

The deputy minister called on the education ministry to integrate the CBPVS at all school levels.

The MoEAC executive director, Sanet Steenkamp, said the ministry will continue supporting, upscaling, and expanding the teaching of the CBPVS to all 14 regions and integrating it into selected mainstream schools.

The ED commended all stakeholders and role players for contributing to the CBPVS’s success in realisation.

“The certificate is accredited by the Namibia Qualification Authority (NQA) as a level 1 certificate. This certificate signifies acquiring essential pre-vocational skills and serves as a bridge course for further education,” said the ED. She urged graduates not to sit on their certifications in their homes but to go out and make a difference with their skills.

She said that by recognising individual abilities and accommodating diverse learning needs, the ministry aims to create a more inclusive society where everyone has equal opportunities for personal and professional growth.

Meanwhile, NIED director Patrick Shimalumba said that, in alignment with MoEAC’s revamped special curriculum, NIED introduced the CBPVS to prepare learners with special educational needs for vocational training and assistance in specific trades.

Shimalumba called on other vocational training centres to integrate CBPVS into their curriculum, both public and private, adding that for far too long, persons with disabilities have been cast aside, emphasising that it is high time they are given platforms to show their abilities in society.

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