By Dominic Sikopo
The University of Namibia recently held its graduation ceremony for 2013 ,with students awarded honours in different fields of study at its Campus in the town of Katima Mulilo.
Vice Chancellor Professor Lazarus Hangula delivered the keynote speech on behalf of the Namibian President Hifikepunye Pohamba who is the chancellor of the University of Nambia.
“It is really a privilege and a huge encouragement to be among people who share one`s passion for education and hard work ”, said Prof. Hangula in his opening remarks.
He explained that the campus had a total of 301 students enrolled for the BED degree ( Bachelor of Eduction Degree)while five of the campus`s students are registered in the second year of the BSc Wildlife Management and Eco-tourism degree.
“Last year the campus struggled to attract students and ended up with only 46-first-year students, this year the number of the first year students has gone up to 182, thanks to the innovation and initiative of members of the campus management”, said the professor.
The Professor also took the platform to thank the campus staff for working tirelessly in all high schools in the Caprivi region in marketing the University.
“In addition to the 301 students, the campus also has 250 students, the campus has also registered 250 students for the English Access Course offered by the University`s Language Centre”.
He added that the course affords the enrolled students an opportunity to improve their grades in English so that they are able to join the university, “through this and similar programmes spearheaded by the UCCB countrywide UNAM is trying to facilitate access for Namibian youth to higher education”, he added.
“A total of 87 students will graduate with Diplomas in Education for the last time ( 2014 ) because the Diploma course in Education is being phased out and is being replaced by the BED programme”, Prof. Lazarus revealed.
The Vice Chancellor explained that at the moment the campus was offering two programmes which are the BED and the BSc Wildlife Management and Eco-tourism degrees.
“plans are in place to introduce a Diploma in Animal Health and a degree in Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, the Diploma in Animal Health will be offered in response to numerous requests from our local community of predominantly communal farmers engaged in animal production”, he said.
The Caprivi region is prone to animal disease outbreaks that include Foot and Mouth, “when these diseases break out, the local abattoir closes down and this affects the farmer`s income at the household level and causes fluctuation in local business as well”, he noted.
The professor again explained that discussions were ongoing to introduce a degree in Water Management.
It was also revealed that the University was busy in renovating some buildings and erecting offices at some of the former training colleges, “here in Katima Mulilo we have renovated all hostel blocks, the dining hall and the library, we are now constructing a two storey lecture building at a cost of N$20 million”, said the professor who further added that three additional lecture rooms and 16 offices have already been built.
He also said that the campus had received two large pieces of land that would be used to implement it`s programmes from the local community. “The first piece of land will be used to set up a private game reserve for training ( at Kasheshe) while the second was donated by the combined effort of both the regional and local town council for this campus extension”.
Professor Hangula also took the opportunity to express his gratitude to the staff members of the campus for also enrolling in the campus`s programmes, “I have been told that some are completing their Masters degrees while others have registered for PhDs, that is recommendable and these are preludes that sooner than later this campus will be awarding Master and PHD degrees”, he said.
He concluded by congratulating the graduates of the event on their achievements, “now is the time to go out there and make a difference, inspire the children and youth of Namibia with words and deeds”.