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IOL initiates education sector reform, lobbies zero barriers to employment

IOL initiates education sector reform, lobbies zero barriers to employment

IOL initiates education sector reform, lobbies zero barriers to employment

Creating opportunities: Head of IOL, Ilana Calitz__Photo: Zorena Jantze

Staff Reporter

THE Institute for Open Learning (IOL) officially opened the doors of its latest market expansion initiative: The Institute for Open Learning Vocational Training Centre or the IOL-VTC.

The launch comes soon after the IOL-VTC’s auditing by the Namibia Training Authority (NTA) as well as the Ministry of Labour; the outcome of which granted the IOL-VTC registration status as well as a Factory Fitness Certificate respectively. The IOL-VTC is the first ever Vocational Training Centre in Namibia to receive the latter indicator of compliance with statutory and regulatory requirements.

IOL-VTC commenced training in January 2018 with Bricklaying & Plastering and Plumbing & Pipe fitting as its first training offerings. The institute intends on implementing Office Administration, General Electrical, and General Maintenance in the medium-term future. This decision follows a mini market survey on where and how Trustco Group Holdings could support IOL to make practical and effective impacts and reforms in the education sector, particularly in vocational education.

Speaking at the inauguration of the centre, Head of IOL, Ilana Calitz described IOL’s introduction of TVET programmes and new qualifications serves as its modest contribution to addressing the skills gap and mismatches in various technical areas: “It remains true that the need for skilled persons remains insatiable as the economy continues to be underdeveloped due to a shortage in skilled human resources.” Calitz was referring in particular to the unskilled and semi-skilled workers from the informal settlements who did not have access to education beyond Grades 9-10.

Calitz concluded with the pledge that IOL-VTC – as Trustco’s entrepreneurial, innovation, and vocational training initiative – will continue to implement projects that inspire a locally-driven industrialised economy and provides the advantage [for the less privileged] to create wealth for themselves, “…by making education the greatest equaliser.”

Concurring with Calitz during delivery of his remarks at the event, the Deputy Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Higher Education, Training and Innovation, Dr Raimo Naanda stated that the rising youth unemployment is one of the most significant problems facing developed and developing economies and societies today. He added that youth unemployment challenges should not be left to government alone.

Naanda underscored the role private sector has to play in the delivery of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET), stating that it can no longer be overemphasised as TVET is “One of the pillars that could address the many challenges facing the national development of our country.”

He then went on to commend IOL’s contributions to attaining NDP5 goals after citing the NTA’s statistics that only 33% of school leavers secure placement in Public VTCs: “As government, we would like to applaud IOL for having decided to support government initiatives to increase access opportunities for our youth aspiring to joining the TVET sector,” Nanda stated.

The launch was attended by various players in the education sector including academics, the Namibia Training Authority, the Namibia Council for Higher Education, and various industry players such as Namcor.

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