The last quarter of the year always seems to be the busiest for our Student and Programme Support team. As a core department within the College, we provide services and support to other units. This time of the year it’s always all hands-on-deck for the College and its staff. Our intrepid intern Risuna Mashele has been assisting the Responsible Resource Management Department with two exciting pilot short course projects, one focused on Conservation Technology and the other on Biology. With the build–up towards the final exams the resource centre staff, Gabaza Nkuna, Freddy Nukeri and Marion Bourn – a consultant to our department, have been supporting the Community and Youth Development Unit, while our student support officer, Rejoyce, has been providing support to the hospitality department and after hours student services.
Our department is excited to announce that Fortunate Mathonsi (pictured right) will be joining our team as the Student and Programme Support Deputy-Registrar in January 2023. Fortunate has a wealth of experience and is often considered the mother of all the students. She is also a trained counsellor and will be helping expand our student support and career counselling services.
The change in Covid-19 regulations this year helped us to maintain a regular schedule of student representative council meetings and the students ensured that any concerns or challenges were addressed.
The biggest event on our closing quarter is the graduation of our students on the two certificate programmes. This is the culmination of all the hard work, focus and energy that the Natural Resource Management students put into their studies at the College. The dedication of the lecturers and unit coordinators has also been critical to enable student success. This year we had to host two graduation events due to the impact of Covid-19 on in-person events in both 2020 and 2021, but also most of our students also wanted a face-to-face graduation. Students travelled from Namibia, Zambia and further afield to attend and graduate with their qualifications.
This year also consolidated the use of blended-learning strategies to many of our programmes, with exams and assignments being submitted and marked online. The highly successful Responsible Resource Use online short course has been a resounding success and it has continued to pave the way for the College to offer other needs-driven online and blended-learning programmes. However, the need for practical training and application remains sacrosanct, so we continue to develop programmes that weave the best of both the online and practical applications to ensure the best possible learning outcome for our students. The College Learning Management System (LMS) had several hundred students enrolled on various courses and learning activities, which will only grow over time. Our team has ensured that learning material preparation and certificates are done timeously.
The department manages and quality assures the institutional short courses and it has developed some new services in Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) and Credit Accumulation and Transfer. The success of the RPL project has already been demonstrated, especially for long serving field rangers who may not have the school-leaving credentials to be promoted or sent on other training. Thus, the department will continue to co-develop and support new education and training services to guide, support and address education and training needs.
As the year closes and our students have graduated, we wish them well in their careers and opportunities ahead. We also hope to see many of them return to the College for further training and development.