Practical oomph for vocational training

The Chief Executive of the Namibian Training Authority, Jerry Beukes this week handed over tools and equipment to the Windhoek Vocational Training Center in Khomasdal, Windhoek, as the country scrambles to meet vocational knowledge and skills development targets.
Beukes described the handover as a milestone for the country’s oldest public vocational training institution. The most recent donation of equipment and machinery worth N$1.6 million is part of an intervention to equip students in public vocational institutions with training tools and equipment relevant to their field of industry. A shortage of training equipment is identified as one of the major impediments at vocational training institutions.
The training authority took over responsibility of public Vocational Training Centers in 2008 with a mandate to put into effect the Competency Based Education and Training (CBET) curriculum.
The auto-electric, auto-mechanic, welding, joinery and carpentry, as well as bricklaying and plastering equipment and tools will be used in the Windhoek centre workshops to prepare students for future employment.
“More recently, we have also invested in the upgrading and expansion of the physical infrastructure of the public vocational training centres, most notably the Rundu VTC and the Eenhana VTC, where extension wings are to be opened soon to expand the training offering and intake capacities of these institutions” Beukes said.
The Minister of Higher Education, Training and Innovation, Dr Itah Kandjii-Murangi’s speech was read on her behalf by Deputy Director General of the Namibia National Commission, Mr Rod April.
The minister’s speech expressed concern over prejudice against Vocational Education Training against academic education which she said generates unrealistic expectations among many parents and undue pressure on learners in schools.
Kandjii-Murangi believes that increasing not only the quality but quantity of graduates in job attachment opportunities increase the chances of graduates finding employment.
Job attachments make up an integral part of the vocational and technical training curricula.
“The sad reality, however, is that while we are making inroads in freeing up meaningful job attachment opportunities, we still face a good number of challenges in this regard” he said adding that many companies take in trainees but fail to deliver in terms of expectations as far as on-the-job training, evaluation and reporting are concerned.
“Others continue to view our vocational training centres as sub-standard institutions despite conforming to stringent national quality assurance requirements.”

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