By Petronella Sibeene WINDHOEK While the national development strategy Vision 2030 demands that Namibia gets a certain number of geologists, some factors might hinder this vision from becoming a reality. The institution of higher learning, the University of Namibia (Unam) that is expected to produce graduates in science-related fields such as geology, face challenges that might slow the process of producing the required number of students by the stipulated time. The Dean of Science at the university yesterday stated that since the establishment of the institution 14 years ago, not much expansion in science-related fields has been done. Apart from this problem being attributed to lack of funds, high schools in Namibia seem to be failing to produce students 'ripe for university, he said. "We are short of nearly everything starting with classrooms, lecturers, textbooks ..." stated the deputy dean. Though geology and engineering are technology-intensive subjects, the institution has not been able to expand the engineering department. Students enrolled for engineering in their second year of study transfer to South African universities that are fully equipped with technology needed for one to obtain his or her degree. Head of Geology at the university, Ben Mapani, said there is a lack of laboratories. Currently, the geology department uses two laboratories which are not enough given the different specialities. This is not too good as contamination of samples is likely, stated Mapani. There is a need for two more laboratories in order to overcome this challenge. Further, there is a need to increase the intake of students if the required number is to be produced by the year 2030. Despite these problems, Mapani added that geology students produced at the university are of a high calibre and are easily absorbed in the job market. "We have done well especially that our students are marked by external examiners," added Mapani. In response to the desperately needed equipment, including books, yesterday Anglogold Navachab mine donated books to the geology department worth N$6 000. This donation came after Mapani's efforts that involved approaching companies for help. Acting General Manager of Navachab, Gerry Arnat, stated that the mine is interested in promoting students at the university especially that mines need quality geologists. According to Armat, "We will use the analogy that the more geologists produced, the more mines are likely to be in existence and the better the economy." Unam has 104 geology and engineering first to fourth year students enrol-led.
2006-03-31 00:00:00 12 years ago