By Maria Kandjungu
ABOUT 776 students from the Namibian College of Open Learning (NAMCOL) obtained qualifications in areas of youth development, primary education, and early childhood development, among others. NAMCOL recently held its 17th graduation ceremony where the “People’s College” awarded certificates and diplomas to students in the fields of community development, local government administration, psychosocial support, early child development and primary education and youth development. NAMCOL Director, Heroldt Murangi, noted that for the first time the college has included trainees who have completed their level 3 levels’ training in the following Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) disciplines; welding and metal fabrication, plumbing and pipefitting, automotive mechanics and office administration. “Our programmes are meant particularly for those who are unable to continue through the conventional system due to work, family and other commitments,” he stated, adding that NAMCOL also believes that their programmes are meant to make a difference in the lives of many Namibians. “We have TVET trainees who successfully accomplished level 3 in their respective trades, and we are proud to have the first cohort as part of the graduation today,” the director said. Murangi further pointed out that since 2013, NAMCOL introduced tailor-made TVET programmes specifically designed towards making trainees employable in industry or to engage in entrepreneurial activities. Training is tailor-made to the actual needs of the industry and trainees are equipped with the skills and technical-know that are required. “Our tertiary level programmes offered by the college are tailor-made to address community-based developmental needs in society. The programmes are also referred to as ‘professional programmes’ because they aim at capacitating students with professional skills and knowledge that are indispensable for their progress, and thus equip them with the necessary expertise to execute their functions in a more professional manner,” Murangi explained. The majority of students in these programmes are those already employed in the same or related fields and their studies with the college qualify them as practitioners or create opportunities to employ themselves and others. Murangi congratulated the graduates and encouraged them to never stop learning. “Remember, learning continues throughout life, and as you craft a new career direction it can bring important new innovations to the work place and industries. Lifelong learning is no longer a concept, but a reality of the modern world. Fitting study around social activities, work and family commitments is a challenge,” he told them. Speaking on future programmes, Murangi said NAMCOL has been approached by the Commonwealth of Learning (COL) to offer an online Postgraduate Diploma in Open School Operation and Management (PDOSOM). “This is one of the Virtual University for Small States of the Commonwealth (VUSSC) qualifications and will be offered to practitioners from all Commonwealth Member States. The programme aims to ensure that those who design, deliver and manage ODL programmes are prepared to support their students, and to prepare administrators and support staff to effectively plan and manage the day-to-day operations of open schools using a variety of technologies and pedagogical methods,” he said.
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