By Moses Magadza Correspondent
WINDHOEK – Namibia’s Deputy Minister of Gender Equality, Poverty Eradication and Social Welfare, Honorable Bernadatte Jagger, has expressed optimism that the recently established Sunshine Private College which was set up by a Zimbabwean woman would augment efforts to produce human resources for education.
Jagger made the remarks last Friday when she officiated at the college’s first ever graduation ceremony, at which 18 teachers were awarded the Post-Graduate Diploma in Education, a specialised pedagogical qualification which is pegged at Level 8 of the Namibia Qualifications Framework (NQF).
“One of the challenges Namibia faces is inadequate number of qualified teachers. The launching of the current education programmes of the College and in particular, the PGDE (Level 8) programme, is in direct response to the current shortage of qualified teachers in Namibia,” she said.
She said in 2017 the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture “noted an increase in enrolment in schools, which in turn, created the shortage of qualified teachers”.
The Deputy Minister – a veteran educationist – added that by launching the PGDE, Sunshine Private College was significantly complementing the efforts of existing higher education institutions in producing teachers.
She said the official registration and accreditation of the new College and its programmes “after a series of rigorous assessments by both the NQA and the National Council for Higher Education (NCHE)” spoke volumes about the quality of the services it offered which she stressed were “above board and of international standards”.
On academic rigour, she noted that all the college’s PGDE Modules and Educational Projects had been externally examined and moderated. She commended the Director of Sunshine Private College and Group of Schools, Zimbabwean national Mrs. Nomakando Kangira, for her vision and tenacity.
The College that is based in Windhoek had humble beginnings. It was set up in 2019. It now offers higher education programmes that include Bachelor of Education Honours Degree in Junior Primary, Bachelor of Education Honours Degree in Senior Primary, and PGDE.
Jagger said the new College was making a difference.
“I have great admiration for the emphasis the college places on life-long learning and development, positive engagement with the community, and developing leadership skills; qualities that will positively impact our communities, our country and the world at large,” she said.
Turning to the graduands, the Deputy Minister commended them for their “zeal and zest” and enjoined them “to positively contribute to the development of this nation”.
She made a call for innovation, hard work and integrity.
“We need to innovate and learn that we cannot solve 21st century problems by using the 16th century ideas. We need innovative ideas in education, business, public sector, social development and all other sectors,” she said.
She added: “As a nation we should act with integrity which is the hallmark of excellence. People out there are losing trust in professionals who do not have integrity. We should walk the talk… We have to act with integrity in the way we use our resources.”
On her part, Kangira thanked the graduating students for their faith in enrolling at her institution while it was still making efforts to be fully accredited. She also saluted her staff for hard work.
“A great day indeed it is. What seemed as an uncertain journey in 2019 when we started designing the three programmes the College offers, is now real,” she said to applause.
She used the the words of the Turkish revolutionary Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, to exhort the graduating teachers to put their learners first.
“A good teacher is like a candle – it consumes itself to light the way for others,” she quoted.
Ms. Phyllis ya Nangoloh was the president of the Students Representative Council at the college and among the graduating students. In an emotional address, she perhaps summed up the odds that the students and staff beat towards graduation.
She said: “Aristotle said that the roots of education are bitter, but the fruit is sweet. Indeed, the road was a rocky one but, we made it! From enrolling into an unaccredited institution at that time (we took a leap of faith), to receiving knowledge through the stressing times of COVID-19 (the institution made sure that quality education was received) to successfully gaining accreditation not only by NQA but by NCHE as well, to graduating as the pioneers of Sunshine Private College Teacher Education Department, we are surely reaping the fruits of our labour.”
Acting Rector of Sunshine Private College, Reverend Dr Archford Musodza, was equally ecstatic and reiterated that getting the college fully registered and its programmes accredited was “not a walk in the Zoo Park.”
Musodza also thanked the college’s “highly educated, professionally endowed and dedicated faculty” for shepherding the students through to “this momentous occasion against all odds created by this deadly Coronavirus and its variations”.
He revealed that the college would, with effect from 2022, begin offering, also, a Diploma in Early Childhood Development; a Diploma in Creative Design & Web development; a Diploma in Information Sciences; and Bachelor of Education in Leadership.