International Centre for Higher Education Innovation
under the auspices of UNESCO


January 8, 2018
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The Republic of Namibia is in the Southern part of Africa. 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. Namibia University of Science and Technology is a leading university of science and technology in Namibia and it has 6 colleges.

In November 2017, UNESCO-ICHEI delegation visited Namibia Ministry of Higher Education, Training and Innovation and had discussion with Deputy Minister Professor Becky. Professor Becky expressed her appreciation to UNESCO-ICHEI for selecting Namibia as the project country and Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST) as the partner university. Professor Becky said that Ministry of Higher Education, Training and Innovation would like to play an active role in promoting cooperation among SUSTech, UNESCO-ICHEI and NUST. The delegation then visited NUST and met with Deputy Vice-Chancellor. After the meeting, the delegation visited Centre for Open and Lifelong Learning, Library and Quality Assurance Unit.

Besides, the delegation visited Namibia Ministry of Information and Communication and had a meeting with Deputy Minister Mr. Stanley Simataa, who is also the President of UNESCO’s 38th General Conference and member of UNESCO-ICHEI’s Governing Board. Mr. Simataa thanked the delegation for coming to Namibia to discuss future cooperation in higher education and would like to facilitate this process.

Higher Education in Namibia

Before 1980, Namibia had no higher education institutions. If Namibians wanted to receive higher education, they had to go abroad or do correspondence learning in South Africa or other regions and countries. In the early 1990s, higher education in Namibia was coordinated by the Presidential Commission on Higher Education.

Currently, Namibia allocates more than 20% of its national budget to education. This represents six to seven percent of Namibia’s total GDP and is one of the three countries with the highest percentage of GDP directed toward education in the world.

The Namibian education system is experiencing many obstacles. It is faced with serious weaknesses in the provision of education to all. Additionally the quality of education, quality of teachers and the performance of learners is unsatisfactory. The Ministry of Education is drafting an improvement program that is known as the ETSIP (Education and Training Sector Improvement Program). The ETSIP aims to align the entire Namibian education system to Namibia’s Vision 2030 and the needs of the Namibian population.

Namibia has 13 registered private colleges in total, seven of which are branches of overseas universities located in Namibia. These schools provide distance education and some on-campus programs. The other six are not university-level, but they also offer a number of available courses.

In March of 1995, the Ministry of Higher Education, Vocational Training, Science and Technology of Namibia was established to develop higher education, vocational training and technological capacity. Before 2015, the authority that was in charge of higher education was the Ministry of Education.

To improve education in Namibia, in 2015 the President announced the establishment of the Ministry of Higher Education, Training and Innovation, and the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture. Since then these two ministries are responsible for the educational work in Namibia.

The National Committee for Higher Education (NCHE http://www.nche.org.na/) was established to co-ordinate quality assurance of higher education in Namibia according to the Law on Higher Education. The Higher Education Commission is responsible for the registration of all private institutions of higher education, and for the accreditation of all national higher education courses in conjunction with the

Namibia Qualifications Authority (NQA http://www.namqa.org/)
This institution evaluates and accredits national institutions and degrees, as well as foreign qualifications of people who wish to demonstrate the national equivalence of their degrees earned abroad.

The Namibian National Commission for Higher Education (NCHE), the Namibian Qualifications Authority (NQA), and the Namibian Training Board (NTA) are responsible for the quality assurance of higher education in Namibia. With the assistance of the NQA, NCHE is responsible for the management of the quality assurance system of higher education and the implementation of the quality assurance policy of higher education, whereas NTA is mainly responsible for the quality of vocational education and training courses.

Namibia University of Science and Technology

Formerly known as Polytechnic of Namibia, it was renamed Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST) in 2015. NUST comprises six academic faculties and offers undergraduate as well as postgraduate degrees in the areas of business and management, engineering, information technology, journalism, hospitality, natural resource management, and medicine. As of 2010 there were 86 undergraduate and 19 postgraduate degrees offered at the institution.

NUST has been in constant competition with Namibia’s other state-owned university, the University of Namibia (UNAM). University rankings consistently list both institutions among Africa’s Top-50, until 2009 usually with UNAM a few places ahead of NUST. In recent years NUST is ahead of UNAM; the Webometrics 2013 lists it on rank 28 in Africa (2,284 globally), and UNAM on rank 48 (3,160).