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Namibia in a good position to advance in Post Grad education

Professor Frank Witt, Director of the Harold Pupkewitz Graduate School of Business.

Professor Frank Witt, Director of the Harold Pupkewitz Graduate School of Business.

In a recent interview with The Economist, Director of the Harold Pupkewitz Graduate School of Business, Professor Frank Witt expressed his opinion on the state of post graduate education in Namibia.
Witt drew attention to the need for interaction between students and lecturers, called for mutual dialogue to aid research and development, and spoke about the need for institutions to see the students as their biggest stakeholders.
Said Witt, “Namibia has a good position for advancing in post graduate education. Government spending on education seems to be sufficient.
However this indicates only that education in Namibia could be much better than it is. It is logic to assume if funding is sufficient but results are mediocre that the management of educational institutions is not matching with international standards. And indeed I can see a lot of paralyzing bureaucracy and illusions educational management in Namibia is based on.

“Newly introduced admission tests of the Harold Pupkewitz Graduate School of Business are indicating that a skill mix prioritising conceptual skills and social skills against technical skills which is internationally required in postgraduate education, emphasising critical thinking and research is hard to achieve in Namibia.
Namibia has the same proportion of highly talented people than other nations, but the system and educational management is not able to provide them with the services they need to be supported with in their personal development.”
Witt added, “Systems and management which are centralistic and inflexible are hampering postgraduate education.
Education and research are based on interaction between professors and students. They are mainly driven by professionalism and ethics of both groups.
The value is created by the academic staff and not by the administration. Instead of opening an arena for academic debate and creativity, it is a marathon of forms and submissions and involvement of decision making bodies that don’t even have a clue what postgraduate education and research is.
De-bureaucratisation, and a focus on talents and interests of the interacting people. Management means to enable people to work successfully and not to stand in their way. The ‘managed university’ is an illusion, a university is not a knowledge factory and graduates can’t be seen as products, universities as intellectual organisations require a complete different model of organisation.”
Speaking in the context of Africa, Witt said, “Postgraduate education in Africa is often outlined as a mere repetition of Bachelor degrees, curricula are crammed and text book focused, technical skills are over represented.
Looking at the results, low graduation quotas, the over proportion long time it takes to finish their programmes, the lack in quality of research output and acquired skills changes in management in the way the institutions are run might come finally on the agenda.
Witt suggested the following penacea to address the issue and said, “The insufficient quality of the educational management, which empathizes power and control over efficiency and effectiveness and do not adapt to the different sets of demands, choice and constraints.
More diversity would be a tentative solution.” Witt called for efforts to, a change in the rigidity of teaching methods, a need for a meaningful definition of research and a shift away from South African centered methods.

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