NSFAF reviewing funding policy to ensure inclusivity and equity: ImmanuelDr Phil Mjwara honoured for promoting science, technology and innovation in SA

Namibia Student Financial Assistance Fund (NSFAF) company secretary, Fillemon Immanuel, has announced that NSFAF, under the directive of the Office of the Prime Minister, is actively reviewing its funding policy to enhance inclusivity and equity.


Namibia Student Financial Assistance Fund (NSFAF) company secretary, Fillemon Immanuel, has announced that NSFAF, under the directive of the Office of the Prime Minister, is actively reviewing its funding policy to enhance inclusivity and equity.

Immanuel made these statements during the high-level tertiary education funding budget review dinner held in the capital on Thursday. The event was held under the theme ‘Funding Modalities in the Age of AI, Emerging Sectors, 4IR, and 5IR.’

‘We are looking at our funding policy with the intention of catering for those students that may be falling between the cracks, but I must say that even if we review this policy there will be a threshold against which the students will be measured to ensure quality and a return on investment,’ said Immanuel.

He urged business leaders and employers to encourage former NSFAF beneficiaries to contribute to the fund’s financial sustainability by repaying their loans.

‘We want to be able to complement what is allocated to us by gov
ernment and the one way to do so is through our recovery programme,’ he said.

He said NSFAF prioritises funding for studies of information technology, computer science, food technology, water engineering and telecommunication, which are closely linked to artificial intelligence and which will enable the attainment of an industrialised Namibia.

Minister of Higher Education, Training, and Innovation, Itah Kandjii-Murangi, emphasised Namibia’s commitment to leveraging technology for future needs through the TVET, Higher Education, and Innovation Policy Review.

‘The interaction of cyber-physical systems in industry 4.0 brings about smart manufacturing in which humans and machines reconcile and find a way to work together to improve the means and efficiency of production. These innovative technologies have the potential to revolutionise the energy sector by increasing productivity, enhancing safety, and cutting carbon dioxide emissions,’ said Kandjii-Murangi.

She added that it is imperative that universities a
nd other institutions of higher learning brace themselves to revolutionise their teaching approaches through the adoption of new technologies to produce the relevant skills for the oil and gas, as well as green energy, value chains.

Source: Namibia Press Agency

The Director-General of the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI), Dr Phil Mjwara, has been honoured for his visionary leadership in promoting science in South Africa and abroad.

Mjwara received the Presidential Award during the annual South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC) Merit Awards in Cape Town on Thursday.

With 18 years of service as Director-General, Mjwara was lauded for having significantly contributed to the South African National System of Innovation (NSI).

Through these awards, the SAMRC said it acknowledges outstanding contributions to health research and recognises individuals who have demonstrated exceptional scientific acumen.

The awards recognise those who made innovative strides in addressing public health challenges, potentially influencing policy to enhance the well-being of all South Africans.

Mjwara holds a BSc, MSc and PhD from the University of the Witwatersrand and his academic career includes serving as a Professor of Science and Technology Policy at the University
of Pretoria, and physics lectureships at the universities of the Witwatersrand, South Africa, and Fort Hare.

Speaking at the awards ceremony, SAMRC President Professor Glenda Gray said Mjwara had built a strong legacy in the country.

‘In the late 1990s, Dr Mjwara led South Africa’s first national Science and Technology Foresight Exercise, which laid the foundation for the NSI,’ the statement read.

Mjwara is also described as someone who is highly regarded in various global forums.

The Director-General is a senior member of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) International Basic Sciences Programme and the Square Kilometre Array Observatory Council.

Mjwara has also been lauded for formulating the STI Decadal Plan, which has elevated STI to the presidential level, with the first Presidential Plenary held last year.

This Decadal Plan, according to Gray, focuses on using STI to address societal challenges and highlights the importance of health research in the STI en
vironment in South Africa.

‘Dr Mjwara has set the vision for all policy development in the science and technology sector in South Africa. He saw the need to create sustainable programmes, infrastructure and human capacity to ensure that South Africa achieves excellence in critical areas of science and technology,” Gray said.

The SAMRC also honoured the DSI’s Director for Health Innovation, Glaudina Loots, with a special award for her support and leadership in health research in the country.

Loots is responsible for the implementation of the health components of the Bio-economy Strategy for South Africa.

She has been instrumental in the creation of the Strategic Health Innovation Partnerships initiative at the SAMRC, which funds and manages innovation projects focused on the development of new drugs, treatments, vaccines, medical devices and prevention strategies.

Gray explained that medical research remains fundamental for transformation, innovation and collaboration in advancing scientific discovery.

Celebrating medical research excellence not only honours the achievements of researchers but also inspires progress, fosters collaboration, and enhances the overall impact of scientific advancements on global health and well-being,’ she said.

Source: South African Government News Agency