Poly lobbies for cooperative education
The president at the Institute of People Management (IPM) and Cooperative Education Unit (CEU) patron Tim Ekandjo advised industry members to be more involved with the tertiary institution authorities and to take part in drawing up curricula. before they are finalised in order to save time and money. He added that government should also invest in cooperative education to provide sufficient funding so that there will be incentives for the industries that will be advising institutions and employing graduates.
Last week, members and patrons of the Cooperative Education Unit held a conference intended to contribute to the credibility of cooperative education. Members urged government, tertiary institutions and industry members to be more involved in cooperative education. Ekandjo said that because many graduates are not adequately prepared for the workplace, they are not able to be placed for employment. He advised that sessions regarding cooperative education be more active, stating that the sessions should be workshop-based, to encourage meaningful dialogue, rather than have podium-based conferences.
Currently, the Polytechnic of Namibia is the only institution in the country that officially has cooperative education as part of their curriculum.
Errol Tyobeka, professor at the Polytechnic of Namibia and special advisor to the director of the Cooperative Education Unit, stated that cooperative education is a necessary effort to train students in a holistic manner to enter the workplace successfully. “Cooperative education is about flexible learning that builds a bridge between academic education and the industry,” added Tyobeka. Tyobeka stated that universities are beginning to rank globally in terms of their impact on the employability of their students.
He added that although the Polytechnic of Namibia is focused on sending students out into the workplace having achieved the highest academic level, the institution also wants to make sure that students are employable and are able to transition smoothly into the workplace. Speaking on behalf of the industry, Ekandjo said, “as many companies are looking forward to their first Namibia Training Authority refunds, we sincerely hope that all of those industries, can offer an investment in cooperative education”.