Engineer training elevated by new facilities at UNAM’s Ongwediva campus
This week marks an important milestone in the training of engineers with the inauguration of the so-called German Wing of the Faculty of Engineering and Information Technology on the Ongwediva campus of the University of Namibia.
The inauguration of the German Wing is the culmination of the extended construction phase of a new building for UNAM’s department of Civil and Environmental Engineering which started in 2015. The building will be ready for occupation next month.
The Assistant Pro-Vice Chancellor of the Ongwediva campus, Prof Frank Kavishe, welcomed the dignitaries and sketched the background and growth of both the campus and its engineering faculty.
UNAM’s Principal and Vice-Chancellor, Prof Lazarus Hangula, the Minister of Higher Education, Training and Innovation, Hon Dr Itah Kandji-Murangi, the German Ambassador to Namibia, HE Christian Schlaga, and the Head of Division for southern Africa in the German Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development, Mr Alois Schneider, all added their weight to the auspicious occasion.
The almost N$311 million project was co-sponsored by the German Cooperation through the German Development Bank (Kreditanstallt fuer Wiederaufbau) and the University of Namibia.
The Ongwediva engineering faculty accommodates some 300 students, all hoping one day to become professional engineers but hampered in this quest by the standards set for professional registration. The German Embassy in Windhoek stated that the new facilities and infrastructure will substantially help to improve and increase the qualification and number of Namibian civil engineers.
UNAM engineering graduates can apply for professionial registration after working in the field for at least three years. An extensive report covering technical competence and experience must accompany the application after which the candidate is interviewed by a review panel. Only after successfully complying with all these requirements, can a so-called incorporated engineer, or an engineer in training, be admitted as a professional engineer by the Engineering Council of Namibia.
“The German Cooperation, through the German Cooperation Agency (die Gesellshchaft fuer Internationale Zusammerarbeit – GIF), has assisted UNAM in the development of Bachelor and Master degree programmes and their accreditation. It has also assisted the university to improve the operational level of the engineering laboratories. Lecturers from German universities have been invited as lecturers at UNAM and student exchanges with German partner universities also help to foster cooperation and improve the standard of tuition.
Properly trained an qualified civil engineers are a requisite for the ambitious expansion of Namibia’s road network. This is covered by the long-standing support from the German Government for the local transport sector. Transport is one of three focal areas in the latest Namibian German cooperation agreement.
In the picture: the German Ambassador to Namibia, HE Christian Schlaga (left) congratulating the Minister of Higher Education, Training and Innovation, Hon Itah Kandji-Murangi on the completion of the new building for the Faculty of Engineering on the Ongwediva campus of the University of Namibia.