Following the publication in the Government gazette of the regulations for the registration of Vocational Education and Training (VET) providers, the Namibia Training Authority (NTA) embarks on a campaign to encourage players to comply with requirements and apply for official registration status.
We spoke to the NTA acting general manager: operations, Richwell Lukonga to shed more light on the issue.
Q: Why is registration necessary?
A:Through registration, the NTA wishes to counter some of the symptoms of our current training market. This includes setting up small institutions that charge money for training purposes only to close down later, fleecing thousands of dollars from unsuspecting trainees.
This campaign aims to rid our market from institutions that offer cheap, non-effective training, leaving unsuspecting trainees with no skills to enter the job market. It is also aimed at identifying institutions run by unqualified managers and with equally under-qualified trainers who offer training and assessment, as well as institutions that do not have the required physical infrastructure and training equipment to conduct training,
Registration helps us ensure that we train in areas that have market demand. We do not want skilled people to remain redundant in the market.
Q: Who needs to apply for registration with the NTA?
A: Any entity offering VET courses in Namibia should apply. This includes but not limited to training institutions. If not sure whether or not you are eligible for registration, please contact the NTA for guidance. Registration is valid for a maximum of two years for providers not accredited with our sister organisation, the Namibia Qualifications Authority (NQA).
Q: What are the benefits of registering with the NTA?
A: Apart from the mandatory requirement, training providers may be eligible to receive professional and technical advice from the NTA. Training providers offering teaching in areas considered as industry priority areas may be eligible to receive funding.
Q: Will I qualify for funding if registered with the NTA?
A: Not automatically. Registered trainers stand a chance to receive funding if the training they offer is priority within the industry, or if they offer training identified to be in demand. The NTA will advertise in the local media asking for proposals to conduct training to be submitted to the NTA. Once proposals are received, the NTA will go through an evaluation process to determine the most suitable institutions to conduct such training. And these institutions are the ones to be engaged.
Q: What if my institution does not comply with all the requirements?
A: The NTA will assist the training institution to identify areas of concern and give the respective provider ample time to remedy shortcomings, if there are any. We have established a unit to specifically deal with this challenge and provide the necessary guidance and support. Opportunities will be provided for such training providers to tap into the expertise from the NTA.
Q: What is the turn-around time for registration?
A: In normal situations, a complete application for registration should have a turn-around time of between three to six months. This period may be extended where special circumstances arise. The training provider will be kept abreast of such developments. As a general guideline, the more complete the application is, the more prepared the training provider is for the site visits. The quicker a provider undertakes corrective action, the faster the process.
Q: Can providers be registered with conditions or receive provisional registration?
The regulations do not provide for provisional registration. Upon engagement, training providers are provided with ample time to implement corrective actions. Our Quality Systems Auditors conduct audits in conjunction with subject matter experts, nominated by our industry sectors. They determine the suitability of an institution to offer VET programmes and then they make recommendations to the NTA for registration.
At this stage, the regulations require that all providers meet all the conditions applicable to them in a satisfactory manner. Any training provider not registered with the NTA operate outside the legislative framework and may be subject to the penalties prescribed in the Vocational Education and Training Act of 2008.
Q: The NTA registers training institutions, whereas your sister organisation, the NQA accredits courses. Do training institutions also have to apply for accreditation?
A: Although accreditation is not mandatory, the NTA strongly encourages that every institution applies for accreditation with the NQA as soon as it is in a position to do so.
Q: Under what circumstances can the registration of a training provider be revoked?
Q: Training provider registration may be revoked if conditions of registration cease to exist or if training providers contravene any conditions of the regulations.
Registration can also be revoked when offences are committed and when a training provider ceases to operate. Another instance is when training providers do not submit the mandatory report to the NTA. A process will, however, be undertaken to determine the nature of the reason to revoke the registration of a training provider in line with the regulations.
Q: Does a registered institution receive a certificate?
A: Yes. The certificate of registration that must be prominently displayed at the premises of the provider where it is visible to learners and the general public.
Q: Any final comments?
A:Quality training remains at the heart of the regulations for the registration of VET providers. In as much as these regulations empower the NTA to protect and safeguard Namibians against [sometimes] unscrupulous entities that aim to make a quick buck under the guise of the so-called “recognised courses”, our national VET system sets clear expectations for registered training organisations to take responsibility for the quality of their qualifications and services. It does this through a legislation, standards and requirements.
As the official regulatory body, the NTA expects that every training provider meets these standards. As such, I encourage everyone involved to recognise the value of regulation and to comply with the requirements.PF