Vocational training and the role of the Namibia Training Authority

05 January 2017 | Onderwys
As the regulating body of the Vocational Education and Training sector in Namibia, the Namibia Training Authority is entrusted with the effective regulation and funding of the provision of Vocational Education and Training.

The NTA contributes to the establishment of an effective and sustainable system of skills formation aligned with the needs of the labour market and which provides the skills required for accelerated development. In this system, competencies are developed that are needed for productive work and increased standards of living. Moreover, the NTA promotes access, equity and quality in Vocational Education and Training.

Strategy

The Vocational Education and Training Act, Act 1 of 2008, deems the delivery of priority vocational skills as critical to our country’s future competitiveness in a global economy.

As such, it anticipates the establishment of a strategic plan that brings together trainees, employers, industry, government and training organisations in the delivery of such skills as a tool to foster productivity, economic growth and social inclusion.

Context

Vision 2030 anticipates the transformation of the Namibian economy into an industrialised and knowledge-based economy. It moreover challenges the country to implement an efficient and effective Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) system that is able to equip the youth with the necessary skills required by the labour market.

The NTA is tasked with the responsibility of arranging an efficient, effective and sustainable Vocational Education and Training (VET) system aligned with the current and future skills needs of the labour market. Therefore, the NTA seeks to ensure access, equity and quality in Vocational Education and Training within the country.

Skilled labour has been identified as a major obstacle to business development and growth for small, medium and large firms in Namibia.

Namibia currently faces a potential risk of being dominated in the global and regional economic environments as it currently faces a high unemployment rate. From this, an initial observation is made into the severity of the current Namibian economic state, but above that, the importance of the development and maintenance of an efficient VET regime to unlock a trained, skilled, efficient, and qualified workforce that lies therein.

The Fourth National Development Plan (NDP4) is the Namibian Government’s fourth five-year plan (2012/13-2016/17) to achieve its development objectives set forth in Vision 2030. NDP4 highlights that “Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) needs strengthening and expansion to better serve the current and emerging needs of skilled human resources in the country”.

Accordingly, NDP 4 requires increasing the immediate and long-term supply of skilled labour to alleviate the country skills needs. This is to happen inter alia by:

- Almost doubling the number of enrolled trainees in TVET;

- Linking TVET to envisaged priority areas of tourism, logistics and manufacturing;

- Increasing the provision of TVET;

- Providing adequate equipment and infrastructure, upgrading educators’ qualifications; and

- Strengthening the management capacity and the quality of the TVET system.

Minister’s input

Local trainers need to be equipped with what is required to make the VET sector responsive to national economic, social and political needs. The Minister of Higher Education, Training and Innovation, Dr. Itah Kandjii-Murangi, said this at the Okakarara VTC graduation ceremony, staged at the Otjozondjupa town on the 23rd of September 2016.

Dr. Kandjii-Murangi stressed that a range of other factors exacerbated the shortage of competent and skilled trainers, including the low reputation of their profession and the fact that many trainers possess relatively low formal qualifications, severely affecting training delivery at higher qualification levels. “Furthermore, many trainers are inappropriately practically skilled, because of a training system that long emphasised theoretical knowledge, often not aligned with modern technology requirements, and which disregarded the importance of practical skills and appreciation of the world of work”, she highlighted.

The Minister also cited the increasingly multi-functional roles and responsibilities of trainers, which she noted have led to new learning approaches with greater autonomy for trainers for programme decisions and outreach to the world of work. “A wide range of countries now require significant non-academic work experience as part of the certification of trainers, in efforts to break down the divide between VET institutions and workplaces”, she noted.

Dr. Kandjii-Murangi also stressed that youth unemployment and new forms of work organisation were driving a renewed search for balanced skills development that responds more closely to real workplace needs. “This in turn creates a need for closer cooperation between industry, VET institutions, trainers and other stakeholders to come up with strategies through which we can bridge this divide”, she said. NTA

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