AT a consultative workshop this week, Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila called for a shift in the public perception of vocational training as inferior to the academic stream and therefore less prestigious.
Vocational training, she said, plays a dynamic role in addressing many current problems such as underemployment and unemployment and poverty alleviation particularly among young people. Kuugongelwa-Amadhila emphasised that technical and vocational skills are vital to make in poverty reduction, economic recovery and sustainable development. Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) can also play a role in ensuring the transferring local knowledge and skills between generations, thus fostering human centered development.
The consultative workshop was for the development of a vocational training and education program in Diaconia and Social Development in Namibia by the United Lutheran Theological Seminary, Paulinium and the Diaconia College of Finland.
The two church bodies with other stakeholders came together to spearhead the process of developing this program to address social issues such as; family disintegration, poverty, unemployment, HIV and AIDS, Gender Based Violence, Alcohol and drug abuse, through vocational and technical training.
The Prime Minister cited that ‘a society is judged by how it takes care of its most vulnerable members’ and thus called on various stakeholders to optimize this forum to integrate issues to address numerous challenges the nation and global community face.
The Government’s TVET policy aims promotes TVET among leaners as an alternative to academic education that leads to university enrolment, as it secures a career path in formal and informal sectors in terms of employment and the creation thereof.
Kuugongelwa-Amadhila commended the new program stating that it is in line with Harambee Prosperity Plan II Pillar 3 on Social Progression which is focused on improving the quality of life for Namibians, particularly by strengthening support to vulnerable members of the society.
The pillar aims to improve the quality of the public education system, among other things, by working with stakeholders to ensure their contribution to curriculum reform to achieve effective accumulation of required skills and a demand-driven education system that is responsive to the country’s economic transformation agenda. She also stated that progress has been made in establishing an integrated TVET system geared to the changing demands of the labour market through the Namibia Training Authority (NTA), with the main focus being to promote TVET that is relevant too high quality and produces technicians with the necessary skills, qualifications, values and attitudes.34,920 trainees are currently enrolled in TVET programs across the country, thanks to the NTA and the central government’s support through the Namibia Student Financial Assistance Fund (NSFAF).
The government is also accelerating infrastructure expansion at the Valombola VTC, Nakayale VTC, Okakarara VTC and Kai/Ganaxab Youth Skills Training Center, while Gobabis VTC and Zambezi VTC are next in line.
Furthermore, bulk services for new VTCs at Nkurenkuru and Keetmanshoop were recently completed.