Development in education the cornerstone to economic transformation: Kandjii-Murangi

Higher Education, Training and Innovation Minister, Itah Kandjii-Murangi has said the development of professional and technical human resources, research, science, technology and innovation infrastructure is the cornerstone of the transformation of the Namibian economy.

Kandjii-Murangi made the remarks during a high-level tertiary education funding budget review dinner held in the capital on Thursday.

She said while almost half of the world’s population is made up of young people it is also evident in Namibia, where the youth constitute 60 per cent of the population, adding that it is for this reason that special attention has to be paid to engaging and imparting the requisite skills to the youth.

‘Young people are the future leaders, in a globalised and interconnected world, modern development theories tell us that innovative human capital is our competitive leverage, thus they are valuable assets and trustees of our posterity. They are, like everybody else, custodians of sustainable development, a role f
or which they should and must be prepared,’ she said.

The minister noted that in the last few years, access to higher education and the diversity of programme offerings at universities have expanded significantly, citing that due to the increase in student numbers, it is imperative to increase the provision of state-of-the-art infrastructure and facilities.

However, one of the strategies that institutions of higher learning can adopt to cater for large numbers of students from ordinary and advanced subsidy school level is to consider introducing bridging programmes, she suggested.

Kandjii-Murangi said her ministry is cognisant of the fact that Namibia has gone through a challenging period characterised by droughts, economic difficulties and the COVID-19 pandemic.

This has impacted Namibians’ ability to enrol their children at higher education institutions and in turn put pressure on the Namibia Student Financial Assistance Fund (NSFAF) in terms of demand for financial support.

In the year 2022, the numbe
r of students receiving financial assistance from NSFAF stood at nearly 15 000 at a cost of N.dollars 1.6 billion, while in 2023 that number grew to approximately 22 000 at a cost of N.dollars 2.1 billion.

The current budget allocation to NSFAF is N.dollars 2.3 billion which represents an increase of N.dollars 200 million from the 2022/2023 budget, she concluded.

The review was held under the theme ‘Funding modalities in the Age of AI, Emerging Sectors, 4IR and 5IR’.

Source: The Namibia Press Agency