By Confidente Reporter
NAMIBIAN College of Open Learning (NAMCOL) Director, Heroldt Murangi, says that educators should think creatively, and come up with new innovations to address the challenges the country’s student population is facing.
He was speaking at the launch of a new student portal, the introduction of new NAMCOL programmes and the realignment of the institution’s student support services last week.
He said the new MyNAMCOL Student Portal is a gateway that allows information sharing through a single entry point.
“All you have to do is to enter your unique login details to access information, such as additional learning resources, assignment and examination marks, student accounts, calendar of events, campus news and events, discussion groups, reference materials and links to other relevant educational materials, and other important announcements and activities, regarding a students` life and studies,” Murangi said.
He said that students in a distance learning environment are separated from the institution in space and time, and it is therefore NAMCOL’s conviction that through MyNAMCOL it will be able to bridge the gap that exists between the institution and the students. “It is our hope that we will be able to reach more of the 47 032 students that have enrolled with the institution for the various programmes in the 2017 academic year,” Murangi said. He also launched the Certificate in Business and Entrepreneurship and the Bachelor`s Degree in Youth Development programmes at the event.
He said that business and entrepreneurship is a critical driver of innovation and economic growth, and fostering this critical field is an important part of Namibia’s economic growth strategies.
“In 2019, we will offer the diploma, which will be followed by the Bachelor Degree in Business and Entrepreneurship.”
He said that the college currently offers a Diploma in Youth Development, a programme that was previously offered in conjunction with the Commonwealth Youth Secretariat since 2002.
“We customised this qualification, according to our own needs, and now again, in collaboration with the Commonwealth of Learning (Vancouver, Canada), the Commonwealth Youth Secretariat (London) and the University of the West Indies (Caribbean), we are introducing the Bachelors of Art in Youth Development.
“The purpose of this qualification is to develop a cadre of professional youth workers, equipped with the professional competencies, required for effective youth development work at management levels within their regions. “This is a three-year degree, offered through the distance mode, with face-to-face support. Based on continuous enquiries for the possibility of further studies by our existing graduates in the diploma of youth development work, the college deemed it appropriate to provide pathways for our existing students in the furtherance of their studies, since there is a lack of relevant qualifications within this field in Namibia. This Bachelor in Youth Work qualification will be launched at the 9th Commonwealth Youth Ministers’ meeting in Uganda, Kampala on 31 July 2017.”
Murangi added that NAMCOL fully supports the Sustainable Development Goals and President Hage Geingob’s Harambee Prosperity Plan.
“How else will we reach these noble goals if we don’t start with educating our youth, and provide them with pathways to success?” Commenting on the current economic headwinds in the country, and their impact on NAMCOL, as a State-funded institution, Murangi said that among the measures now in place is the suspension of contact sessions for secondary education in the last term. “Normally learners received tuition for three weeks in last term, for revision purposes. We have observed over the years that average attendance drops to as low as 30 percent at the various tutorial centres, because of the external examinations starting mid-September. However, we will use these three weeks for the Grade 12 learners’ oral assessment in English and African Languages. Therefore, we urge all our Grade 10 and 12 learners to work hard during this term and sit for the mock examination, which will start on 26 July and end on 23 August.”
As a second measure, the college will as from 2018, reduce the number of weekly contact sessions for Grade 10s, from five to 3 hours, to align it to the three hours currently offered to the Grade 12 learners.
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