Journal of the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
On-line version ISSN 2411-9717
Print version ISSN 0038-223X
TESH, D.; MUSIYARIRA, H.; DZINOMWA, G. and MISCHO, H.. Interventions for ensuring sustainability of the minerals education programmes at the Polytechnic of Namibia. J. S. Afr. Inst. Min. Metall. [online]. 2014, vol.114, n.12, pp.1055-1058. ISSN 2411-9717.
The mining industry worldwide is facing a tremendous shortage of minerals engineers in all fields of specialization. For instance, in Australia the skills shortage in the mining industry has been identified as one of the top risks facing the mining industry. In Namibia most minerals engineers employed are expatriates, with some being Namibians who studied abroad. The minerals engineering programmes at the Polytechnic of Namibia are still in their infancy. These programmes were designed to meet the mining industry skills needs. Being young has its advantages in that lessons can be learnt from older minerals education institutions that went through similar challenges. However, this does not imply just copying and implementing their approaches, since the context differs and, to ensure sustainability of the minerals education programmes, curricula have to be customized to the local context. This paper reviews the interventions made by the Polytechnic of Namibia in order to ensure the sustainability of its minerals education programmes. The methodology consisted of an extensive literature review, a status quo analysis of the mining and process engineering department, identifying the gaps between the current state and desired state, and mapping the goals and strategic actions required to progress to the desired state. The following factors were identified as major threats to the sustainability of minerals education at the Polytechnic of Namibia: the quality of students, low student enrolment rates, low pass rates in science and mathematics, shortage of academic staff, dwindling government funding, and limited involvement of the mining industry. The major outcomes of this research comprise the detailed strategic actions employed by the Polytechnic of Namibia to address the threats to sustainability of its minerals education programmes.
Keywords : mineral eduction; partnerships; Polytechnic of Namibia; sustainability.