Namibia

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by James Kay and Paul Bacsich, Sero

Policies Survey notes:

In Namibia, there is no national OER strategy but the Namibian Open Learning Network Trust (NOLNET) is pursuing the development and expansion of OER following the second National Open and Distance Learning (ODL) Conference, whose theme was “OER and the opportunities for expanding ODL,” in October 2011. In addition, the Namibian College of Open Learning worked with COL to produce OER in five subject areas under the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation/COL OER for Open Schools project (OER4OS). These materials are due to be released in 2012.

Overview

Namibia, officially the Republic of Namibia (Afrikaans: Republiek van Namibië, German: Republik Namibia), is a country in Southern Africa whose western border is the Atlantic Ocean. It shares land borders with Angola and Zambia to the north, Botswana and Zimbabwe to the east, and South Africa to the south and east. It has been given many names: the land of contrasts, the land God made in anger, the ageless land. For many years it was known only as South West Africa, but it adopted the name Namibia, after the Namib Desert.

It gained independence from South Africa in 1990.

Its population is just over 2,000,000. It is the second least densely populated country in the world, after Mongolia.

Its capital and largest city is Windhoek (German: Windhuk).

Namibia is a member state of the United Nations (UN), the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the African Union (AU), the Commonwealth of Nations and many other international organisations.

The official language is English. Until 1990, German and Afrikaans were also official languages. Long before Namibia's independence from South Africa, it had been decided that the country would become officially monolingual, consciously choosing this approach in contrast to that of its neighbour. Therefore, English became the sole official language of Namibia. Afrikaans, German, and Oshiwambo became recognised regional languages.

Further information

For further general information see Wikipedia:Namibia.

Education in Namibia

For a general description of education in Namibia see Education:Namibia.


e-learning

For a description more focussed to e-learning see E-learning:Namibia.


ICT Policy for Education Consistent with the objectives of Vision 2030 and ETSIP, the Namibian Ministry of Education adopted an ICT policy for education in 2003 which is an update of the original policy developed in 1995 and revised in 2000. Developed by a mixed working group drawn from the two Ministries of Education, the policy reflects recent developments in pedagogy, research, technology, and partnerships and provides a comprehensive and holistic range of issues in its goal to access and use ICTs across the education sector. The priority areas for the policy are colleges of education and related in-service programmes; schools with secondary grades; teacher education programmes at tertiary institutions; vocational training; primary schools; libraries and community centres; adult education centres; and special needs education. The policy objectives are to:

- Produce ICT literate citizens
- Produce people capable of working and participating in the new information and knowledge-based economy and society
- Leverage ICT to assist and facilitate learning for the benefit of all learners and teachers across the curriculum
- Improve the efficiency of educational administration and management at every level from the classroom, school library, through the school, and on to the sector as a whole
- Broaden access to quality educational services for learners at all levels of the education system and set specific criteria and targets to help classify and categorise the different development levels of using ICT in education

The policy also provides specific strategies for providing of ICT services; staff training; curriculum and performance measures; national technical standards; societal issues; open and distance learning; library, community sport and culture; public private partnerships; education management; and financing. (2)

Centre for Open and Lifelong Learning, Polytechnic of Namibia

"We serve a broad profile of students. Many of our students come from the Windhoek area and are taking classes by distance education mode because it allows them to take courses while maintaining their employment and continuing their family responsibilities. Other students are from rural areas where they may not have easy access to learning resources. All students are valued and we support their desire to learn through decentralised support services, offered at Regional Centres." (http://www.polytechnic.edu.na/centres/coll/coll.php)

Namibian College of Open Learning

The Namibian College of Open Learning (NAMCOL) is a state-supported educational institution, established by an act of parliament which provides study opportunities for adults and out-of-school youth. NAMCOL`s core activity has traditionally been its programme of Alternative Secondary Education (ASE), which enables those who cannot or do not wish to attend formal schools to study for either the Junior Secondary Certificate (JSC or Grade 10) or the International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE or Grade 12). The College can trace its roots back to various continuing and distance education programmes that were available to Namibians before independence in 1990. Towards the end of 1994, these programmes were consolidated under a single directorate under the Ministry of Education. This can be regarded as the first step in NAMCOL`s transformation into an autonomous institution. In 1998, the College was established and took over responsibility of the programmes previously offered by the Ministry. Over the last few years NAMCOL has made a significant contribution to the development of the country's human resources. NAMCOL remains the largest educational institution in Namibia with over twenty six thousand (26 000). This is more than the combined total of all institutions of higher learning in Namibia. (2)

Centre for External Studies, University of Namibia

The Centre for External Studies strives to become the leading open and distance-learning centre in the country and beyond by enabling people to achieve their full potential through accessible, innovative and flexible learning. Its mission is to provide accessible quality higher education and to create opportunities for professional development to adult members of the community by providing open learning through distance and continuing education programmes. CES caters for the educational needs of people who, for a variety of reasons, cannot come full-time to any of the University campuses to further their studies. The Centre operates through three departments: the Department of Materials Development and Instructional Design, the Department of Student Support and the Department of Continuing Education. In fulfilling their duties all three departments are supported by the CES Student Administration unit. Moreover, the three departments collaborate with internal faculties of the University and outside partners in offering formal and non-formal programmes to external students by means of distance and open learning methods. In addition, CES manages the nine University regional centres to support its programmes and students. Furthermore, the University of Namibia recognised that successful learning through open and distance learning (ODL) requires collaboration with other ODL institutions in the country. As a result, CES is a partner in the Namibian Open Learning Network Trust (NOLNet), a publicly funded trust not for gain, charged with the responsibility of supporting open and distance-learning centres scattered throughout Namibia. As a partner in the NOLNet Trust CES students can make use of facilities of all NOLNet centres. (2)

Over the last eight years, these publicly-funded ODL institutions have been working together with the Ministry of Education to coordinate their activities through the establishment of a national trust, known as the Namibian Open Learning Network Trust (NOLNet). Since its establishment in July 2001, NOLNet has been striving to enhance opportunities for supported, independent learning for adults and young people through a framework of collaborative management of open learning centres in terms of a legal agreement between publicly-funded ODL institutions. NOLNet’s activities include institutional capacity-building; establishment and expansion of a national network of open learning centres; supporting elearning initiatives to supplement existing ODL print-based programmes; and the development of radio programmes and audio-visual material. (2)

Quality procedures

Internet in Namibia

According to the World Economic Forum Global Information Technology Report, Namibia ranks 78th out of 115 economies using the networked readiness index (NRI) which measures the degree of preparation of a nation to participate in and benefit from ICT developments. Namibia’s rank is ahead of Uganda, Nigeria, Mali, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe.

- Fixed-line subscribers: 127,900 (2004)
- Mobile subscribers: 495,000 (2005)
- Internet users: 75,000 (2004)
- Television broadcast stations: 8 (plus about 20 low power repeaters (1997))
- Radio stations: AM 2; FM 39; shortwave 4 (2001)

Namibia’s close economic and historical links to South Africa means that its telecom market is one of the most developed on the continent. Its modern, fully digital telecom network has helped to drive growth in the Internet and mobile telephony sectors. While mobile and fixed-line services are still a monopoly, plans are underway to introduce competition in both sub-sectors. The Internet sector is open to competition, although the telecoms industry in general ranks comparatively low in terms of openness of the telecommunications market. The Telecommunications Policy and Regulatory Framework (1999) describes a vision of universal access and liberalisation of the telecommunications sector. The draft Telecommunications Bill provides for the regulation of telecommunication activities including the use and allocation of radio spectrum and the establishment of an independent Namibian Communications Authority. The Bill’s aim of universal access is pivotal to Namibia’s vision, and a universal service fund (USF) will be established and administered by the regulator. The existing telecommunications regulatory framework provides for a universal service obligation (USO) by the monopolies. The liberalisation of the telecommunications sector will introduce competition as a means of accelerating infrastructure development, increasing efficiency, and diversifying services, thereby making government’s decentralisation efforts cheaper and increasing Namibia’s attractiveness for foreign investment. (2)

Internet in Education

Copyright law in Namibia

Copyright law in Education

OER Initiatives in Namibia

The ICDE report on taking OER beyond the OER community notes a Journalism Education curriculum that had been developed around Journalism Ethics and was  being piloted in Namibia. (1) 

National OER initiatives

Regional OER initiatives

Institutional OER initiatives

Education Radio Project

A radio recording studio was recently constructed on the Namibian College of Open Learning (NAMCOL)'s premises, with the sole purpose to enhance education radio broadcasting in the country. NAMCOL is managing this project on behalf of the Ministry of Education and other partners in the education sector. The Commonwealth of Learning sponsored the training of key staff from participating Ministries and educational institutions. All the Ministries / educational institutions involved in this project are affiliated to the Namibian Open Learning Network Trust (NOLNet), a charitable Trust, which promotes the development of Open and Distance Learning in Namibia. (3)

References

2. ReVica/VISCED page for Namibia (http://virtualcampuses.eu/index.php/Namibia)

3. http://www.commonwealth-of-nations.org/Namibia/Organisation/Education/Government_Agencies/Namibian_College_of_Open_Learning_%28NAMCOL%29

Reports

1. ICDE Report, 'Taking OER beyond the OER Community: Policy and Capacity - Summary Report' ; Policy Forum in Paris, France, 1st December 2010. (Accessed at http://www.icde.org/filestore/Resources/Reports/TakingOERbeyondtheOERCommunity.pdf on Saturday 14th July 2012)


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