PolyNews 200315 - Polytechnic of Namibia

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transforming to “Namibia University of Science and Technology”
20 March 2015
Bill tabled to transform Poly to University
The process of transforming the Poly to a University of Science and Technology entered the final stretch when the Minister
of Education, David Namwandi, tabled the University of Science and Technology Bill (Bill No. 2 of 2015) in Parliament
on Tuesday, 17 March 2015.
When he tabled the Bill that will transform the Poly to University,
Namwandi said the change in name and status of the institution
was long overdue. He also said the transformation of the Poly is
in line with international trends in higher education and that the
transformed institution would contribute to the development of the
country and ensure Namibia’s global competitiveness.
The University of Science and Technology Bill, once promulgated
through Parliament and signed into law by the President, will replace
the current Polytechnic Act. During the debate in the National
Assembly this week, Members of Parliament (MPs) who spoke on the
matter all expressed support for the Bill. These included the Minister
of Defence, Nahas Angula; Minister of Mines and Energy, Isak Katali;
Deputy Minister of Defence, Petrus Iilonga; Minister of Trade and
Industry, Calle Schlettwein; Swapo MP Kazenambo Kazenambo; Swanu
MP Usutuaije Maamberua; and DTA of Namibia MP, Katuutire Kaura.
Speaking after the tabling of the Bill, Poly Rector, Prof Tjama
HP-GSB Director, Professor Grafton Whyte, Charles Bennett, Patrick Flaherty
and Standard Bank Namibia‘s Market Research Manager, Mally Likulela.
International experts
address Industry
Customer service excellence and corporate values were
the most importance issues discussed when the Harold
Pupkewitz Graduate School of Business (HP-GSB)
recently hosted a Financial Sector Breakfast in Windhoek
that featured presentations by international economics
and finance experts.
The HP-GSB launched the Namibia Customer Service Awards and
Conference last year, followed by the Customer Service Awards
Ceremony where the best performing Namibian corporates, in
terms of customer service excellence, were recognised.
The School is hosting two international economic and finance
experts who each delivered a presentation at the event that was
sponsored by Standard Bank Namibia.
Patrick Flaherty, Managing Director of Investment Banking in
the Hedge Fund Client Sector at the Swiss-based Credit Suisse
Bank, in his presentation, pointed to examples where Credit
Suisse had delivered exceptional customer service in the past. This
has, in turn, made the financial giant a preferred banking partner.
Tjivikua, expressed his joy over the fact that the process is
nearing completion. “We are very happy that the Bill has made
it to Parliament. This has been a dream for the Poly and we
are about to realise of our long-term vision.
“The renaming of the Poly marks a significant milestone in
the transformation of the institution and very soon it will enjoy
the status and recognition accorded to leading institutions of
higher education internationally,” Tjivikua said. He added that
the name ‘Polytechnic’ has become somewhat of a misnomer
as it globally refers to bygone educational concepts.
“First and foremost, it implies that the education output of
the institution will be limited, and that preparation of students
for a world requiring generic and transferable skills, will be
inadequate. In that sense, the name ‘Polytechnic’ betrays our
true nature as a University of Science and Technology. The
changing of the name and status of the institution confers upon
it the appropriate status and recognition because the Poly has
for all intents and purposes operated as a university for some
time now, and this has been the case since it began conferring
degrees,” Tjivikua said.
The transformation of the institution has been underway
for a considerable time and began well in advance of the
Cabinet Directive authorising the name and status change
in December 2012. This is reflected by the fact that the
Poly has transformed its academic offering from diploma
level qualifications, at the institution’s inception, to degree
programmes as well as a range of postgraduate qualifications
including PhD programmes.
The Poly has also transformed the focus of its academic
programmes away from business and administrative
education towards the Science, Technology, Engineering and
Mathematics (STEM) fields. Programmes of study in the fields
such as Computing and Informatics, Mathematics, Spatial
Science, Land Management, Architecture, Engineering and
the Natural Sciences have been introduced in an effort to
transform the institution to a globally recognised institution
of higher education. When the Poly was established 20 years
ago, the institution offered only 27 qualifications. Today it
offers about 120 qualifications.
Prof Tjama Tjivikua, observing a historic moment, is pictured
at Parliament in front of the notice board indicating the minutes
of proceedings. The tabling of the University of Science and
Technology Bill was the highlight of the day’s proceedings.
The transformation of the institution has involved
significant infrastructure development in order to
ensure that knowledge transfer takes place in a
highly conducive environment. The Poly’s growth has
included the development of an Engineering building, an
auditorium building, a library, the Hotel School, a Science
and Technology building and the new state-of-the-art
Health and Applied Sciences building. A new wing of the
Engineering building is under construction at present.
Foreign students welcomed
The Department of International Relations recently held a welcoming briefing for foreign students who
are visiting the institution as part of student exchange partnerships that the Poly enjoys with several
international higher education institutions.
The briefing included presentations on the Poly, safety
and security on campus and also an introduction to
the institution’s 2015 Students’ Representative Council
(SRC). Other presentations informed the foreign
students of the cultural norms in Namibia as well as the
top 10 places to visit in the country.
The Poly hosts a high number of foreign students and
academics annually who visit the institution as part of
student/academic exchanges and who collaborate on
joint research projects.
Credit Suisse Managing Director for Investment Banking in
the Leveraged Finance Group, Charles Bennett, discussed the
need for a reappraisal of corporate values. He said the 2008/09
financial crisis showed the need for a shift in corporate values
to a more client-centred as opposed to profit-centred focus for
those in the financial sector.
Flaherty and Bennett are visiting the Poly as part of an
agreement between the Poly and B360 Education Partnerships
that contributes to capacity building efforts in higher education
in Namibia by establishing knowledge-sharing partnerships
between the Poly and companies and institutions in Switzerland.
The Polytechnic of Namibia
The foreign students are pictured with Dr Marius Kadumo (front, second from left), Director of the Department of International Relations,
Theodora Nandjaa-Mweuta, Coordinator in the Department of International Relations (front, left), Victor Kamara (back, left), Senior Lecturer in
the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, International Relations Officer, Paulina Haikola (back, third from left), Yolande Geises,
International Student Support Officer (front, third from left), International Relations Officer, Yatva Hinda (back, right), and members of the SRC.
Polytechnic of Namibia
The Poly wishes the Namibian nation a joyous Independence celebrations