WINDHOEK: The Director of Science and Technology in the Ministry of Education says professors in Namibia spend most of their time lecturing on undergraduate level, and limited time is allocated to them to carry out research.
Alfred van Kent, who was speaking at the University of Namibia (Unam)’s Research Day in the capital on Tuesday said on top of this, professors also spend a lot of their time and energy on writing proposals in order to attract funding.
This he said is a challenge, noting that professors have to spend more time on research in order to increase the country’s doctoral output.
Government has however come up with a number of strategies to address these challenges. These strategies include the fourth National Development Plan (NDP4) through which the ministry is “developing a science system that is premised on efficiency and effectiveness of resource use”.
The science system will enhance coordination and communication between researchers and scientists.
Van Kent noted that the National Commission on Research, Science and Technology has also become operational with the appointment of commissioners and by providing seed capital for the National Research Fund.
The key functions of the National Commission on Research, Science and Technology is to coordinate and monitor all research, science and technology activities in Namibia.
He added that the commission is also tasked with developing strategies to finance research, as well as providing grants for researchers.
Van Kent further stated that there have been numerous interventions by the Ministry of Educatoin to support research at Unam over the years.
“Besides the annual subvention that the university receives from Government, special interventions were put in place. The ministry has supported the university to acquire critical equipment for the biotechnology laboratory,” he noted.
Van Kent said the need also exists for Unam to communicate its research initiatives to the government and society, and not just report to those funding the research initiatives.
The current research initiatives by the university include studies on mushrooms, population dynamics and HIV/AIDS.
Meanwhile, the Pro-Vice Chancellor for Administration and Finance at Unam, Osmund Mwandemele launched the Multi-disciplinary Research Centre (MRC) newsletter on Tuesday during the Research Day event.