Windhoek - The Namibia Qualifications Authority (NQA) has renewed its longstanding cooperation agreement with its counterpart, the Malaysian Qualifications Authority (MQA), effective, 7 May 2016.
The Memorandum of Technical Cooperation and Partnership has been in place for over 16 years following its commencement in 2000. During this time, the two authorities have established closer relations for the purpose of exploring ways and means of establishing cooperative and collaborative mechanisms for mutual benefit.
The MQA and NQA share similar mandates and institutional objectives in the implementation of the National Qualifications Framework and quality assurance of qualifications in their respective countries. This agreement thus provides a framework for cooperation in various areas relating to quality assurance and has important benefits for Namibia in terms of information and expertise exchange which include sharing of policies, standard setting especially in respect of the National Qualifications Frameworks and mutual recognition of qualifications. In addition to that, the counterparts also exchange expertise in the area of data management, archiving of national records of learning and information technology systems for the national qualifications frameworks.
During the previous term that expired in May 2016, a benchmarking mission to Malaysia was undertaken for skills transfer purposes, during which NQA employees were exposed to international best practices in quality assurance. Following these bilateral exchanges, the NQA successfully adapted and implemented some Malaysian practises in order to augment its own quality assurance processes.
NQA CEO Franz Gertze sums up the value of this agreement to the NQA and the country at large. “We live in a time where qualifications have become sought after currency as the gateway to better quality of life. Therefore quality assurance in the education sector is of utmost importance and we are fortunate to cooperate with one of the foremost qualifications authorities in the world as we strive to ensure quality education for all Namibians. Further to that, the renewal of this agreement illustrates our commitment towards continuous refinement of our processes and internal efficiency which translates into better service for all our clients”, said Gertze.
There are currently 130 [government funded] Namibians studying in Malaysia pursuing various programmes including Information Technology and multimedia studies. A further 45 Namibian students are expected to graduate later this year and will thus require their qualifications to be evaluated by the NQA. As a direct result of the cooperation agreement between the NQA and its Malaysian counterpart, the mutual recognition of qualifications is expected to be a relatively seamless and swift exercise thus enabling the graduates to start seeking for employment opportunities without delay.
Another area of cooperation that the NQA is keen to explore is that of research on quality assurance related issues. This exercise will enable the NQA to obtain critical data in the area education and qualifications in Namibia which can be used to ensure consistency of quality standards in the sector. Further to that, in its capacity as a forum for all matters pertaining to qualifications, the NQA will be in a position to advice the government on evidence-based approaches to skills and competencies development which are necessary for national planning.
The agreement was signed on behalf of the NQA by the Chief Executive Officer Franz Gertze. Also in attendance was the Namibian High Commissioner to Malaysia, Anna Namakau Mutelo. On her part, Mutelo reiterated the Namibian Government’s commitment to the Harambee Prosperity Plan highlighting that her key focus is to promote skills development as a key tenet to the attainment of the plan and other national objectives such as Vision 2030.
The agreement will be in operation for a further five (5) years until it expires on 6 May 2021.