Kandjii Murangi: VTCs must prepare for green hydrogen, oil

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Kandjii Murangi: VTCs must prepare for green hydrogen, oil

The Minister of Higher Education, Technology and Innovation Itah Kandjii-Murangi completed a tour of northern vocational training centres to engage with the management, trainees and other stakeholders on the need for Namibia’s VTCs to be fully prepared for the fourth and fifth industrial revolutions and evolving skills requirements.

These centres included Valombola, Nakayale and Eenhana as well as the newly constructed VTC in Khorixas.

The minister said the tour falls on the back of President Hage Geingob’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) revelation that about 93 Namibians will receive scholarships worth more than N$34 million to pursue their masters and TVET studies in areas related to the synthetic fuels industry.

She believes that with newly discovered economic growth points, Namibia’s labour market is expanding and fast-changing. 

Kandjii-Murangi said the government expects that as scholarships become available for the green hydrogen, oil and gas fields, our local tertiary institutions would admit some of these students and grow their capacity and educate them in these important areas of the economy. 

She added that the green hydrogen scholarships will soon be announced and there are two categories of Namibian students who will be funded, those to be trained at the masters level and those at the technical level. 

“I am convinced that through collective efforts, Namibia is in a position to provide jobs for the future. Namibia must be agile and develop the requisite knowledge, competencies and skills in green hydrogen, oil, gas, 4IR and other possible future fields,” she said. 

The minister remarked that Namibian universities and TVET colleges should be positioned to grow fast and develop pools of required experts and technicians in these new economic growth areas.

She added that the government is repurposing the tertiary education sector to make it responsive to the emerging skills need, by making sure that requisite technical trades at TVET colleges and academic programmes at universities address the required diverse skill sets for green hydrogen, oil and gas, and 4IR are developed where they do not exist and strengthened where they exist.

The minister remarked that we may heavily be reliant on our development partners and friendly countries to train our people, adding that perpetual dependence is no solution, not with the rate of unemployed youth we have. 

According to the 2018 labour force survey, Namibia’s unemployment rate stood at 33.4% with a youth unemployment rate of 46.1%. However, youth unemployment in Namibia is estimated by the United Nations to be around 50%.

Kandjii-Murangi believes that to drive Namibia’s development agenda and ensure that Namibia derives maximum benefits from its human and natural resources through vocational expertise, we need to continue creating fora for dialogue and exchange of ideas among our stakeholders, trainees and administrators.  

Moreover, she said that the newly constructed Khorixas VTC in Kunene region is expected to be completed by June 2023, with the first intake anticipated in June/July 2023.

The minister delivered a message to trainees that it is critical that they are educated and trained well for the myriad of careers and diverse priority professional and technical fields. 

She further highlighted that there are two streams of tertiary education; academic and technical. “Do not confine yourself to one, remember that the technical field VTCs give immediate financial freedom the day you graduate and take your tools and put them to work as a self-employed entrepreneur,” she said at the Eenhana VTC. To our TVET colleges and universities, now is the time for inward reflections on your trade and programme offerings, staff capacity and level of expertise infrastructure and facilities at your disposal, said the minister.