NAMIBIA: Education colleges to merge with university

Colleges of education will be merged into the University of Namibia's faculty of education, following a recent cabinet resolution. They are the Windhoek, Ongwediva, Rundu and Caprivi Colleges of Education.

The university received a letter from the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education, IV Ankama, informing it of the cabinet decision to approve full mergers of the colleges into the university effective on 1 April 2010, said Pro Vice-chancellor of academic affairs and research, Professor Osmund Mwandemele.

The move followed an independent study carried out for the Ministry of Education, which found that the colleges lacked human resources capacity and that their courses needed improvement.

Mwandemele said the study also found the colleges had very few academics with PhD and masters degrees - most had only first degrees. "As a result they were found to be good in methodology but poor in content. They were not well trained and thus not well prepared in terms of the subject matter. This of course affects the quality of graduates of the colleges, which in turn affects the education system."

He said the study recommended that ways be found for the university's faculty of education to assist the colleges.

Delivering a public lecture on "The Role of Research in Developing Educational Systems" at the University of Namibia recently, UK researcher and professor of pedagogy, Peter Mortimore, said Namibia faced huge challenges in improving its education standards.

He cited getting all teachers qualified as a key challenge, saying that 60% of Namibian primary school teachers were not qualified while 30% of secondary school teachers did not have the minimum qualifications to teach at that level.

Mwandemele said the university would review the structure of the colleges "through a participatory approach with all stakeholders". Its management has convened a committee to implement the mergers. Key issues to be discussed include teaching facilities, review of curricula, infrastructure, and quality assurance measures.

In 2007 the Namibian government also merged two agricultural colleges, Neudamm and Ogongo, into the faculty of agriculture and natural resources at the University of Namibia.