According to the historic information obtained from the NUST website, higher education in Namibia started around 1979/80.
Prior to this, all students wishing to pursue higher education had to study abroad or through distance education.
The Namibia University of Science and Technology, a public university, has its roots in the establishment of the Academy for Tertiary Education (Act No. 13 of 1980).
Act No. 9 of 1985 was promulgated and by it, the academy – consisting of a university component, a Technikon and a College for Out of School Training (COST) – was established.
Shortly after independence in 1990, it was resolved to restructure the three components into two independent higher education institutions, namely a university and a polytechnic.
Act No. 18 of 1992 saw the establishment of the University of Namibia, which went on to establish 12 campuses in various regions across the country, while leaving the Technikon and COST together as a stand-alone unit, however, under the auspices of the new university, until the promulgation of the Polytechnic Act.
Today known as NUST, the second biggest public institution in the land announced its first campus outside the capital city in Khomas to officially open its doors in the Eenhana town in Ohangwena region in 2022.
The Prime Minister of the Republic of Namibia Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila formally launched the fundraising campaign of the Eenhana campus and praised the project for bringing tertiary education closer to the community in Ohangwena.
Although the Ohangwena region, being the second smallest area after the Oshana region in terms of area, has the second-largest density in terms of population.
Ohangwena is the second most populated region after the Khomas, including the capital Windhoek as per the census statistics of 2011.
According to 2011 data, 245 100 people live in the region.
The region is the second smallest region of the country with a surface area of 10 706 square kilometres.
The administrative capital is Eenhana.
Major settlements in the region are the towns Eenhana and Helao Nafidi and the self-governed village of Okongo.
The region comprises 12 constituencies, the highest number of constituencies permitted per region by the Delimitation Commission in Namibia.
The following are the constituency as per the demarcation; Eenhana, Endola, Engela, Epembe, Ohangwena, Okongo, Omulonga, Oshikunde, Omundaungilo, Ondobe, Ongenga and Oshikango.
Therefore, the diverseness and the second biggest region in the form of the population in the country will significantly benefit from the establishment of the science and Technology campus within its jurisdiction.
Benefit to adjacent regions
The region is adjacent to Omusati in the west, a neighbouring region with the third-highest population density. According to 2011 data, 242 900 people live in Omusati. Notably, the region is home to the University of Namibia (agricultural) Ogongo campus and a state vocational training, Nakayale centre.
While on the south of Ohangwena is Oshana and also Oshikoto, which has the fifth-largest density in terms of population because, according to 2011 data, 181 600 people live in the region.
While the area is the largest in the country with an area of 38 685 square kilometres, the region has no government institutions of higher learning and a
The neighbouring Kavango west region, eastern of Ohangwena, has an area of the region is 23 166 square kilometres – and while the population is 107 905, according to 2011 data, the region has no government institutions but it is home to private institutions of higher learning, such as the International University of Management and Welwitschia university.
Therefore, it is with no doubt that the establishment of a NUST campus in Eenhana to specialise in science and technology disciplines will absorb many young people from the neighbouring regions, given the statistical evidence of those regional populations and the schools’ population of those specific regions.
The Fifteenth School Day Report for 2020, as produced by the Education Management Information System (EMIS) division within the ministry of education, indicates that the Ohangwena region has the highest number of learners in the country.
The total number of learners nationally as of February 2020 is 804 079, while the total number of schools stand at 1920.
It is from that total that it constitutes in Ohangwena learners as 14% of the national total, teachers as 13% of national total and schools as 14% of the national total.
Meaning, in quantitative language, Ohangwena has 112 358 learners, 4 149 teachers and 270 schools – only second to Omusati (Namibia-The Fifteenth School Day Report 2020).
This translates to Ohangwena being one of the most densely populated regions in Namibia with limited access to higher education.
To this end, the NUST Eenhana campus project fulfils the government’s policy of taking higher education to the masses of our people for the core objectives of academic achievement, social mobility; character/mindset development, social cohesion and social equality.
All progressive Namibians must commend NUST for this milestone and implore its management to further expand its reach to the outer lying areas to many of our citizens who are still without access to tertiary education.
*Simon Kanepolo Amunime is the president of the Students Union of Namibia and the national spokesperson of the Affirmative Repositioning Movement.