Kaukungwa-Thomas impacts the lives of students and staff
Erika Kahelende Kaukungwa-Thomas was born in the harbour town of Walvis Bay.
She matriculated at Augustineum Senior Secondary School and after matric she taught at several schools, namely Ohalushu Primary School in Ohangwena, Walvis Bay Primary School and Gabriel Taapopi Senior Secondary School in Oshana.
In 1991 she was admitted at the Academy for Tertiary Education, which was later transformed into the University of Namibia (Unam), to study a bachelor of arts.
After three years, Thomas enrolled for a postgraduate diploma in education which was only offered in the afternoon, while she was teaching during the mornings at Augustineum. “While I was studying for the postgraduate diploma in education, a vacancy opened up at Unam in 1994 in the examination department. I applied and got the position. Unam introduced a policy that students studying at Unam cannot be recruited,” she explained.
Later in 1995, she joined Unam as an examination officer in the examination department and 1996 she was appointed as a faculty officer for the humanities and social sciences faculty.
“As a faculty officer I dealt with the admission of students, the management of student guidance and support systems, and assist with curriculum revision and so on,” she says.
For 15 years she worked as faculty officer, while she studied towards a master’s degree, she then obtained in 2004.
In 2010 Thomas joined the department of political and administrative studies as a lecturer. She has been with the Unam family for the 24 years. She is currently the acting head of the department, as well as a lecturer and researcher in the faculty of economic and management sciences.
“My work involves teaching undergraduate students in the field of politics and public policy. I am also involved in community work and conduct research,” Thomas said.
She said the environment at Unam is very conducive because it encourages creativity, innovation and personnel development.
“I serve on various committees at Unam and also internationally.”
She mentioned she loves her job because Unam allows her to think out of the box. Her biggest challenge is to complete her postgraduate doctoral degree (PhD) in politics within the near future. According to Thomas working at Unam is a privilege, which she will nurture until retirement.