Vocational skills vital for development

31 October 2018 | Local News

The manager of the Nakayale Vocational Training Centre and chairperson of the Northern Vocational Training Hub, Erickson Fundula Nenghwanya, has called on Namibians to realise the role that technical vocational education and training (TVET) plays in the country's economic development.

Nenghwanya says TVET is crucial for processing the country's natural resources into finished products and creating jobs for young people.

He says the world is calling for an improved TVET sector that is aligned to the demands of industry.

It is for this reason that the Fourth Industrial Revolution is recommending advanced skills development, so that even in cases where technology eliminates the need for routine labour, it will also open up new opportunities in industries that require creativity and innovation. “Namibia place less value on TVET than academic career streams. Stakeholders such as parents and the community look down on TVET and this sector is societally perceived to be less of national importance and a priority for those whose academic capacity is perceived to be lower than the requirements of higher learning institutions.

“Namibia is blessed with multiple natural resources such as diamonds, uranium, lead, zinc, tin, silver, tungsten, livestock and fish, to mention but few. These resources are exported in raw form and returned as highly and costly finished products due to the fact that we lack the expertise and the capacity to process them at home.” Nenghwanya says this is an indication that the TVET sector needs to be considered as a driving force for sustainable development of the country's economy. He says this has been the case in most developing and developed countries where TVET is taken as an initiative that is expected to respond to both the demands of labour market and the needs of industry in the 21st century.

“Surfing the Fourth Industrial Revolution will mean marrying human intelligence to artificial intelligence in new and creative ways. There is a need for us to understand globalisation is shifting markets from the local to global arena.

“Competition in the labour market has become more intense as economic development drives the demand for expertise and a high-quality workforce in various fields of the labour market,” he says. He adds that Namibia needs to prepare to be part of globalisation by developing the TVET training providers that can produce a high-quality and fit-for-purpose skilled workforce in various economic sectors.

He believes TVET is important for promoting economic development, expanding employment, and improving the quality of employment, innovation and entrepreneurship.

Nenghwanya says the country has achieved a lot in terms of TVET's legal instruments and a training levy is in place, but there more attention must be paid to TVET funding, upskilling of trainers and facility development. “The funding system of TVET should achieve the purpose of quality, efficiency and impact of training system. Successful implementation of the TVET system is inseparable from a sustainable and continual funding system. Investment in facilities and equipment should be a priority,” says Nenghwanya. China has made a big effort to develop vocational education and this is a culture that Namibia could also adopt. Nenghwanya says Namibian legislators and other stakeholders need to push for a quality-based TVET system with enterprise satisfaction that ensures quality graduates from all TVET institutions.































ILENI NANDJATO

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