Academics cry foul over NUST VC requirements

23 November 2018 Author   Eliaser Ndeyanale
Requirements for the vacant Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST) Vice Chancellor’s position have allegedly been set very high to bar potential local academics from applying for the post.
The university’s governing council wants the incoming Vice Chancellor to be a holder of a Doctorate in a Natural Science, Technology, Engineering or Mathematics (STEM) field from an internationally recognised university with at least ten years of executive leadership experience in higher education and a deep understanding of the operations and affairs of a university.
Sources at NUST who spoke to the Windhoek Observer on condition of anonymity claimed that there is no Namibian with this kind of qualification and experience.
There are fears that the position will likely be offered to a foreigner leaving four of the university’s top five positions in the hands of non-Namibians.
The Windhoek Observer understands that the council recently recruited South African national, Morné Du Toit, as Deputy Vice Chancellor for Administrator and Finance, and Republic of Ireland national Maurice Garde as a Registrar. 
Professor Pramanathan Govender from South Africa was also appointed as the Deputy Vice Chancellor Research and Innovation.
Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, Andrew Niikondo, who was tipped to be Tjama Tjivikua’s natural successor, will be the only Namibian in the university’s top hierarchy.
Niikondo told the Windhoek Observer that he did not apply for the position as the requirements are high.
“The requirement is not of my field,” he said.
Renowned academic, Professor Joseph Diescho, said he did not apply because he knew that he will not be shortlisted.
“I am not in the system and my name would have been removed like they did at UNAM,” Diescho said.
UNAM Professor, Elizabeth Amukugo, who contested for the UNAM Vice Chancellor position, also said that she did not apply as she is not interested in the NUST VC position while Presidential Economic Adviser, Dr John Steytler, denied applying for the position contrary to popular belief.   
The Windhoek Observer reported last week that the vacant position has attracted 39 applicants.
According to the university governing council chairperson, Advocate Esi Schimming-Chase, they were in the process of screening the applications to come up with a final list of those to be interviewed.
She, however, did not want to say the names of the people that had applied and whether they were any Namibians on the list.
“I am not mandated to reveal names, but from what I understand there have been 39 applications and they are being screened,” she said.
The successful candidate will take over the reins from Tjivikua, who has been at the helm of the university for 23 years.
The Windhoek Observer reported last month that Tjivikua’s contract was extended until January next year, to give the university time to find a suitable replacement.
This week, it was reported that the NUST council had extended Tjivikua’s contract by another six months to June 2019.


The Windhoek Observer is an English-language weekly newspaper, published in Namibia by Paragon Investment Holding. It is the country's oldest and largest circulating weekly.

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