Pohamba silent on medical school crisis

13 February 2014 Author  

front Pohamba 14 febONE month after the shocking statistics on the failure rate of the first intake of students at the Unam medical school became public, the Chancellor of the University of Namibia (Unam) President Hifikepunye Pohamba appears to have taken no action. The results of the medical students were disturbing enough, but it has further emerged that medical professionals already communicated the challenges experienced by the medical school to the Ministry of Education as far back as two years ago.

 

Sources say that doctors, who were initially closely involved with the founding of the Unam medical school, have complained for years that the syllabus is not appropriate.

A number of issues ranging from the duration of the course to the lack of practical training, were initially reported to the then minister Abraham Iyambo shortly before he started falling ill.

According to sources at the Ministry of Education, medical professionals also made the current Education Minister David Namwandi, who was deputy minister at the time, aware of some the problems at the medical school.

Attempts to confirm this fact and obtain clarity on why the ministry failed to address the issue two years ago, were unsuccessful as Namwandi is out of the country on official business.

President Hifikepunye Pohamba once referred to the creation of the Unam Medical School as a dream come true, but State House has not responded to questions about why he has not intervened in the crisis.

After reports that the medical school gives the future doctors of this country passes in subjects that they have failed to paint a false picture about the institutions success, one would have expected the chancellor of the university and head of state to starts asking serious questions.

Therefore, several questions remain unanswered about exactly who knew a storm was brewing, and did nothing or very little to prevent it.

Besides the lack of lecturers, equipment and other essential resources, four years after the Unam Medical started teaching students it had not registered any of its courses with the Namibian Qualifications Authority (NQA).

When approached for comment the Head of Accreditation, Assessment and Audit at NQA Polli Andima tried to explain the situation surrounding Unam Medical School.

He said that as far as accreditation of the medical syllabus, acts of parliament established state institutions such as Unam.

“Their qualifications are deemed authentic and are recognised broadly.

“However, Unam has submitted some of their qualifications and they are still in the process of submitting more of their qualifications to the NQA for quality assurance and registration under the National Qualifications Framework [NQF],” Andima said.

He continued to say that the NQA could not say how many Unam qualifications remain unaccredited by NQA and it could only verify those qualifications registered on the NQF.

“However, institutions including Unam are aware of the 2015 deadline when all Namibian institutions must have their qualifications registered on the NQF,” he said.

Andima could not confirm whether the NQF would recognise the Unam medical degree once the students had completed their studies.

“We will not comment on this particular qualification for now as there is a Committee looking into this matter,” he said.
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