COMPUTING

ICT Students Flock to Polytechnic in Namibia

The number of young people interested in pursuing a career in Information Communication Technology courses at the Polytechnic of Namibia has grown over the past years.

Rector of the Polytechnic Dr Tjama Tjivikua says what started as a one-year National Certificate with enrolment standing at 40 students in 2006, has grown to 700 applications for the 2008 intake.

The 700-student enrolment is broken down into 205 students for Basic Computer Studies Diploma; 110 students enrolled in the Business Computing Bachelor Degree; 277 students in Computer Systems and Networks Degree supported by the internationally recognised Cisco Academy; and 76 students in Software Engineering.

There are also 12 students that have enrolled for the two-year, full-time Master of Technology qualification. Tjivikua added at first year level, there are 205 students; second year has 288 students; third year 204 students, while fourth-year level enrolment has 71 students. A total of 250 students, or 37 percent, are female. The enrolment rate for full-time and part-time is 382 and 298, respectively.

"The intake is limited by classroom and laboratory space. Surely, this indicates the popularity of the courses. The selection process is fair - 25 points in the school leaving qualification (NSSC) plus the passing of an aptitude test," Tjivikua said.

Tjivikua regards the enrolment rate as high, the maximum that the institution's resources currently permit. The Polytechnic boasts a modern state-of-the-art infrastructure: a fibre optic network, wireless connectivity, well-equipped facilities (classrooms, laboratories) and e-systems.

The demand for ITC is high not only in the country but the entire SADC region. Tjivikua says the Polytechnic intends to expand its intake in contrast to some western countries where university enrolment in computer science and IT is falling. He attributes that trend to the perception that the subject is difficult.

Due to the renowned name Polytechnic has created for itself, Tjivikua says, diploma/degree students are in demand by the industry. "Namibia's various telecommunications companies and organisations such as MTC, Telecom, GijimaAst and various ministries request our students to work within their organisations because each of our students gains comprehensive knowledge and experience, which is needed in today's ICT competitive market," he said.

Actually, the Polytechnic's qualifications are all designed in partnership with stakeholders and benchmarked against international frameworks. Based on the positive feedback the institution receives from the Curriculum Advisory Committees for the School of IT (which are a group of industry professionals in various IT specialisations), graduates are prepared in accordance with the ICT employment market, without sacrificing academic rigour in the courses.

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