End of an amazing era

...as Dr Tjama Tjivikua’s term ends.
Dr Tjama Tjivikua was appointed as the Rector of the Polytechnic of Namibia in 1995 and right from the outset, he embarked on a critical mission to develop a modern University. After two decades of tremendous growth and the relentless pursuit of a new status under the visionary leadership of Dr Tjivikua, the Polytechnic was renamed the Namibia University of Science and Technology and established through Act No. 7 of 2015.

There were no qualifications higher than a 3-year National Diploma at the Institution in 1995. Today, more than two-thirds of the qualifications are in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields. All the qualifications are benchmarked internationally, while others are accredited internationally.

“Indeed, this journey was long. One of the early challenges was the culture change in the organisation, which saw resistance to change from a passive management style to a proactive, hands-on management style. The second challenge was the resistance to this new concept of a technological University, originating from certain quarters of society. The third challenge was resourcing, which has to do with the availability of skills in the market and funding. This challenge continues to persist, but under somewhat different economic conditions,” remarked Tjivikua.

He adds that any organisation faces many challenges at any given time, especially new organisations because they have to create new systems and survive inception. According to him invention is much harder than conveyancing.

The Institution’s enrollment has grown six-fold since 23 years ago, from about 2 000 to over 12 000 students, and international students are an important part of the student body. To date, the University has produced more than 34 000 graduates, all of whom occupy a special place in the marketplace, locally and internationally.

“NUST is well-positioned for the future. But all the gains of the leadership and attributes of the University will be in vain if politics and mediocrity, and not competence, performance and excellence are the benchmark of employment and success. The education sector needs to be professionalised, depersonalised and depoliticised. Otherwise, any University will be just another failed organisation or pseudo-political platform,” Tjivikua said.

“I am extremely grateful to the Namibian government for granting me this opportunity of a lifetime. It is rare for one to create a new University, rarer still a technological University.” he added.

NUST is ranked at No. 28 among the top 100 universities in Africa and No. 1 in Namibia (according to 4icu Ranking). It is continually rated as the best tertiary education Institution in Namibia (since 2002, PMR Africa). In the past four years, the University has been rated the most innovative Institution in Namibia, twice. Consequently, it has received many local and international awards for its sterling performance.

Tjivikua’s term in office ended earlier this week, and Mr Morné du Toit, NUST Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Administration and Finance, is currently acting in the position, while the search for the new Vice-Chancellor is underway.

Date: 
Friday, April 5, 2019
for Month: 
April, 2019

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