A major curriculum transformation process of the University of Namibia (Unam) is due for completion by November this year, vice chancellor Kenneth Matengu announced.
When Matengu took over office in 2018, he undertook to review the curriculum in a bid to ensure graduates are employable in a selective and demanding job market.
Providing an update recently, Matengu urged Unam staff to take ownership of the education they produce.
“We want a university that’s robust and resilient,” he emphasised.
A six-person team was tasked to re-examine the restructuring report and find the best way forward for the institution in the context of the current economic situation, but also taking into account global trends in structures and operations of academic institutions.
Matengu was quick to clarify that no Unam employee will lose their job due to the new curriculum transformation exercise.
“We chose not to retrench anyone but to restructure without people losing jobs. Our attitude towards learning is different - It’s not just towards finding a job, but being creative and transform minds. We have 40 competencies that we want our graduates to have,” he explained.
According to him, this requires less theory and more scientific engagements, as well as more practical and critical thinking to ensure Unam gives opportunities to students to learn and be ready for the job market.
The ultimate aim is to have priority flagship academic programmes and an overall academic curriculum that trains specialists in specific fields.
Unam indicated several decisions will be made to review curriculums but also align the curriculum objectives to Unam’s institutional strategic plan. The university wants the curriculum to respond in ways that best suit its mission and future developmental objectives of this country.
“Our students are not just learning about human diseases but that there are other diseases that come from animals.”
Currently, academic programmes at Unam emanate from eight faculties: Faculty of Agriculture and Natural Resources; Faculty of Economics and Management Science; Faculty of Education; Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences; Faculty of Law; Faculty of Health Sciences, consisting of the schools of Nursing, Public Health, Medicine, Pharmacy, Dentistry; Faculty of Science; and Faculty of Engineering and Information technology.
Unam announced that by 1 June, the university would merge the existing eight faculties to only four as part of its curriculum transformation. These are natural sciences, education, and human sciences; humanities and social sciences; economics management and governance; as well as health and veterinary medicine.
To meet the educational needs of a diverse nation, Unam had 12 campuses and 11 regional centres countrywide, the latter is managed by the Centre for External Studies, the distance education unit of the university.
However, in January this year, Unam closed its centres in Tsumeb, Khorixas, Swakopmund, Otjiwarongo, Keetmanshoop, Gobabis, Oshakati, Rundu, Katima Mulilo and Eenhana, Opuwo and replaced them with online academic support.