Kandjii-Murangi calls for TVET transformation

04 February 2019 | Education

Higher education, training and innovation minister Itah Kandjii-Murangi has urged vocational training institutions to do away with irrelevant courses and focus on training that can bring about industrial transformation and economic growth.

Kandjii-Murangi made the statement at a meeting with the managers of all state vocational training centres on 24 January.

She told them to be researchers, finding out what works best in the areas where the centres are located.

She expressed concern over some training centres that allegedly refuse to register students who cannot pay registration fees.

“This should not be the case because all vocational training institutions are funded by the government. The economic downturn which is experienced by the country is also a challenge to parents, thus denying trainees registration should not be allowed,” Kandjii-Murangi said.

She also expressed concern about the high dropout rate at vocational training centres.

“One trainee who is lost due to dropout is one too many and centres should put in place mechanisms to avoid dropouts. I therefore emphasise that vocational training educators should ensure that trainees who enrol for vocational training continue until graduation,” she said. Kandjii-Murangi told the centre managers that courses offered at vocational training institutions should be diversified, so that graduates could continue to work even if their specific trade is phased out or is no longer in demand.

“This means vocational training centres should devise and find innovative ways to ... introduce trades or courses that are relevant to the current needs of the labour market. This also implies that those courses that are no longer relevant should be replaced by new ones.”

Skilled trainers to offer these new courses are in short supply though, she said.

“To mitigate some of the challenges related to human resources capital the higher education ministry, the Namibia Training Authority (NTA) and the Namibian University of Science and Technology (Nust) have embarked on a programme to upskill trainers. This certificate/diploma should be seen as ... crucial for the TVET sector when it comes to capacity development,” Kandjii-Murangi said.

The minister believes that the country cannot continue to have trainers trained in other countries and needs to develop its own programme that suits the needs of the country. She emphasised that a training programme like that of Nust should be developed further and customised so that it becomes sustainable. Kandjii-Murangi also highlighted concerns related to job placement for graduates.

She said some training centres send trainees for three or four months' job attachment, while others send them for six months or more.

“Vocational training institutions should be in touch or coordinate with other stakeholders to figure out what are the current needs in the labour market. For example, bricklayers at vocational centres can be attached to the government's mass housing project for their job attachment,” she said.

ILENI NANDJATO

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