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Vocational centres to become manufacturing hubs

HIGHER education, training and innovation minister Itah Kandjii-Murangi says that the ministry has identified a number of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) centres to specialise in the manufacture of essential products.

Kandjii-Murangi told The Namibian recently that the government has expanded some centres into specialised production centres.

In terms of areas for specialisation, she said Nakayale and Gobabis have been identified to do leather work, focusing on the production of school shoes.

“They can first start within their own regions and then once the pilot phase is over, we can now roll it out to the next region and eventually do it for the country,” she said.

Eenhana, Rundu and to some extent Zambezi, have been identified for woodwork.

“And it is not just woodwork, we are talking about school furniture production.

“Again toward the end of last year, I was accompanied by a number of centre managers that are earmarked for this, to India, for us to look at furniture production. Already some work is on the ground for us to identify those who can go through the Indian embassy for training in furniture production,” she said.

“We also have what we call, and this is for Okakarara and to some extent Valombola, the agricultural mechanisation equipment. We talk about agriculture as a key field that can mean food security for our people but when you look at equipment we use, even the basics like hoes, shredders or harvesters, these are things that we import. But in our TVET centres, people who do welding and mechatronics can actually manufacture these in-house.”

As part of the government’s efforts to promote and develop TVET, the ministry of higher education has expanded courses at vocational training centres at Valombola, Nakayale, Zambezi and Rundu, Kandjii-Murangi said.

They are in the process of expanding the Okakarara Vocational Training Centre as well, she added.

“Many of them are the older TVET centres in our country, which means they actually have all the trades that are offered with the TVET. We are saying to them that it is not enough to offer all trades at level three. It is time to move those trades to level four and five.

“We also have said to those institutions that we want to see technologies brought on board as part of training. We want English and mathematics being brought on board. We do not want to train those graduating from our TVET centres to be job seekers. We want them to start their own enterprises,” the minister said.

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