939 students graduate from IOL

The Institute for Open Learning (IOL) held its annual graduation ceremony at the Windhoek Country Club Resort and Casino last week. A total of 939 students graduated this year with more than 280 students in attendance.

Being one of the largest private distance education institutions in Namibia, IOL ensures that access to higher education is not limited to only the few who can afford to study on a full-time basis. Its online platforms and state-of-the-art academic administration systems ensure that Namibians have access to quality higher education.

As one of Trustco Group’s key investments, IOL provides equal access to all to improve their education as well as their quality of life. This year’s event marks one of the most highly attended events in a post Covid-19 environment, with a powerful line-up of speakers engaged to pay homage to all students who persevered through a remarkable number of challenges to be where they are today.

IOL’s head of education Ilana Calitz reiterated this during her opening remarks. “You were all part of the group of students who were confronted with the Covid-19 pandemic, and you had to rapidly adjust to IOL’s new strategy of becoming an electronic and online education institution where all student support services are offered electronically.”

She further praised the graduates on their level of resilience, noting: “You showed persistence and pressed ahead, reaching this milestone because of your dedication and hard work”.

IOL has been a valued partner in education for the longest time in Namibia and has received immense and invaluable support from the ministry of rducation, arts and culture as well as the ministry of higher education innovation and technology.

Education ministry executive director Sanet Steenkamp said she sees the event as her annual call of duty to emphasise the continued support from government. It is her dream to see the youth of Namibia position themselves in such a way that it ignites a continued improvement in education from grassroots level, she said.

“Young people and adults alike report that education does not equip them with the knowledge, experience, skills or values needed to thrive in a rapidly changing world. It is indeed regrettable that learning continues to underplay skills, including problem-solving, critical thinking and empathy.

“Employers complain of a major skills mismatch while many adults are left with little or no access to affordable training and re-skilling opportunities. We therefore continuously applaud IOL in addressing this continued disparity in education.”

The occasion was equally graced by the managing director of the Trustco Group, Dr Quinton van Rooyen, keynote speaker of the event, who spoke passionately about the importance of Namibians ensuring the country’s position globally in the higher echelons of education.

“Currently, the tertiary enrolment rates across Africa stand at 8% of the population, well below the global average of 32%. With an economic return for education graduates at an estimate of 21% increase in earnings, it is incumbent of all of us as Namibians - and you as graduates - to understand your position as the pride of Namibia, and also its hope for the future,” he said.

“On this landmark occasion, we as the IOL in Namibia would hereby like to congratulate all of our esteemed graduates. Your investment in your education is your gateway to a better future for yourself and your loved ones. The support you have equally received from your loved ones propelled you to become the success that you are today. Make this count!” the institution said. Graduates were awarded with teaching qualifications ranging from Namibia Qualifications Authority (NQF) level six to level eight and policing qualifications on NQF level five and six.