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- Lorato Khobetsi
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An education system only works right when education institutions and the industry forms a partnership, says Professor Earle Taylor, deputy vice chancellor at the International University of Management (IUM).
“If some parts of the sector is not functioning then you will not have a good education system. When you train somebody you need partnership between the education institution and the industry in which you are training the person,” Taylor said in an interview with The Economist last week.
He added that there is not only a shortage of industries in the country, but an attitude also persists amongst industry players that it is the institutions’ job to train and that they will decide whether to take the output or not.
Taylor says if the different industries are not playing their part in the education sector, tertiary institutions are forced to make their own presumptions of what the industries want. These presumptions are not always right, he said.
The attitude of the different industries is also not supportive of education, therefore the partnership is not working.
“If the industries were partners of the education sector, they would share their ideas or they would be willing to share funding and accommodate students for work attachments, intern-ships and so on. This type of partnership where the institutions and industries work together, is largely missing,” Taylor said.
The education sector is a one-sided system as industries are not engaged in education, he continued. The different industries, government and parastatals have to work together closely to maximise the benefits of education, as it is the key for any country’s development.
“Namibia has spent a tremendous amount of money on education probably more than any other country, but priority strategies need to be looked at. It is only when the education system caters for the need of the different industries, that we will have a good system,” Taylor added.
He further said that there is too much emphasis on higher education while the needs of industries such as agriculture, manufacturing, tourism and mining are ignored. Taylor is of the opinion that vocational education needs to be given more attention.
“We are putting a lot of emphasis on higher education system without recognising that we are not producing the skills that the economy wants and with that the economy is not able to produce the jobs the economy wants,” he said.
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