An empirical study of the planning and implementation of competency based education and training in vocational education training centres in Namibia: The case of Namibia Training Authority.
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Namibia is currently undergoing a dramatic reform of its overall development strategy through its national statement, Vision 2030. As part of the response to make Vision 2030 a reality, the government came up with an Education and Training Sector Improvement Programme (ETSIP), which represents the education and training sector’s response to the call of Vision 2030. Its key purpose is to substantially enhance the sector’s contribution to the attainment of strategic national developmental goals and to facilitate the transition to a knowledge-based economy. The emphasis, according ETSIP, is on enhancing the quality of life for all and that calls for the intended rapid economic growth to be accompanied by equitable social development, according to Vision 2030. These twin goals of growth with equity are to be pursued within a broader strategic framework of transforming the economy into a knowledge-based economy (ETSIP, 2006). However, a critical impediment to the acceleration of growth, according to ETSIP, is the sluggish and sometimes even declining productivity in some of the sectors. This could be ascribed to the shortage of skilled workers on various levels and of various areas within industry. Without acceleration of economic growth, it is difficult for Namibia to create jobs to curb the current 51% unemployment rate, especially jobs that signal productivity growth, reduce poverty and attain equitable social development. Employers note the shortage of qualified artisans and technical staff as a constraint on increasing their productivity (ETSIP, 2006). One way of addressing this burning issue of skills shortages and unemployment, by the Namibian government, was the establishment of The Namibian Training Authority (NTA) under the Vocational, Education and Training Act (2008), with the aim of taking over management and direction of Vocational Education Training (VET) in Namibia. One of the strategic objectives for the restructuring is to improve the quality of VET, by establishing a Competency Based Education and Training (CBET) Programme (NAMCOL, 2011). The purpose of this case study was thus, to uncover the perceived (understood) effectiveness, of the transformation process of developing and implementing the CBET Program as a method of training in vocational training centres in Namibia by the NTA. An interpretive philosophical overview with a qualitative approach was found suitable for this study. The research design was a case study; and the specific research method for data collection was semi- structured interviews that were conducted at the research site; the NTA. A non-probability sampling technique was chosen and participants were selected purposively. The unit of analysis were those managers directly involved in the transformation process. Data were organised, categorised and interpreted in such a way that it would reflect the issues covered by the data obtained from the six subjects, which can then be adequately summarised in order to draw conclusions, for the purpose of making relevant recommendations. Looking at the change management strategies utilised (or not) by NTA in the transformation process, will hopefully, promote an understanding or inform practice in similar situations. It could, furthermore, be useful for investigating how an individual or programme changes over time, perhaps as the result of certain circumstances or interventions. The results could be used as a guiding tool to inform others of some of the realities that could be expected and how these realities can be dealt with when going through a process of change. It could also put other change agents at ease knowing that, there are companies out there experiencing similar obstacles as those faced by them and yet they were able to pull through successfully. The effectiveness could only be determined in terms of the research questions formulated by the main research question. From the findings, it can be deduced that the implementation of the new system was not totally ineffective, but also not a hundred percent effective. Research question four was not achieved at all, meaning that in the absence of a proper change management model or strategic plan the implementation was not really successful. Recommendations were given by the participants themselves on how to improve the effectiveness there off.
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