Plans to establish a NUST satellite campus in Eenhana in the Ohangwena region, are at an advanced stage.
The Namibia University of Science and Technology campus will open its doors in the next academic year with an assortment of programmes.
The programmes focus on rural development, natural resources, agriculture as well as technical and vocational education.
If all goes as planned, they will use the William Billy Mwaningange Rural Development Centre at Eembaxu as a temporary satellite campus.
Despite Ohangwena being one of the most densely populated regions in Namibia, there are no institutions of higher learning in that part of the country, with the exception of the Eenhana Vocational Training Centre.
In a consultative meeting last week between the Ministry of Urban and Rural Development, Ohangwena Regional Council and NUST to discuss the use of the chosen centre, minister Erastus Uutoni said this is a welcoming development that should be appreciated by all.
He said once the university opens its doors, it will cater for many Namibian students and not only Ohangwena region residents.
“It should not be viewed as an Ohangwena university. It’s not about regionalism. It should be viewed as a university for all, national and international students,” he said.
The governor of Ohangwena, Walde Ndevashiya, who was also in attendance, said the expression of interest by NUST to use Billy Mwaningange RDC as a temporary satellite campus is a milestone.
“The idea of bringing a tertiary institution to the region is a step in the right direction in speeding up the much-needed development mostly in rural areas,” said Ndevashiya.
NUST vice-chancellor, Erold Naomab, expressed his confidence in the project’s success. He said the project will be rolled out in two phases, focusing on programme offerings and infrastructure development.
He further said NUST is strategically positioned to become a higher education institution of choice in Ohangwena and surrounding regions.
Having recognised the challenges that unregulated rural-urban migration places on urban development, the establishment of the satellite campus can support the development priorities of service expansion to rural areas and reduce costs of access to higher education for communities. It could also have the added benefit of creating employment opportunities, he stressed.
The establishment of the satellite campus is a strategic position to support and contribute to the economic and social development of the region by offering diverse educational programmes, tailor-made, demand-driven short courses and executive education to serve communities and develop the local industries, foster community-based opportunities for innovation and entrepreneurship.
It will allow NUST to drive rural development and eliminate barriers to higher education by bringing it closer to the people.
It will not only just be bringing higher education closer, but it will bring executive education, agriculture, livestock farming, horticulture, youth empowerment and employment creation, food security and natural resource management.
The satellite campus will host at least 60 programmes ranging from certificates to PhD programmes and a minimum of 50 short courses over a period of 10 years. The enrolment numbers for the study programmes are expected to start with around 1 000 students and projected to grow to over 6 000 in 10 years. As for the short courses, the projections start at 2 000 students in 2022 with the aim to reach over 14 000 by 2031.