Deputy prime minister Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah says traditional methods of teaching and researching are no longer sufficient.
Nandi-Ndaitwah was speaking at the 32nd annual conference of the Southern African Association for Research and Technology Education at the International University of Management campus in Windhoek on Monday.
“We must embrace a more interdisciplinary approach, one that fosters creativity, critical thinking and problem-solving skills.”
Nandi-Ndaitwah said the fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) demands a workforce that is not only proficient in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (Stem) subjects, but also capable of adapting to rapid changes and technological innovations.
The conference began yesterday and will continue until tomorrow, under the theme: ‘Rethinking Relevant Research in Mathematics, Science and Technology Education for the 4IR’.
According to Nandi-Ndaitwah, researchers must focus on developing new academic methods, integrating technology into the curricula and addressing the disparities in access to Stem education.
“Therefore, it is only when our people are equipped with an appropriate knowledge that as a sub-region and Africa in general, we will be able to take our people out of poverty and realise the Africa we want, under Agenda 2063,” she said.
She added that southern African countries must work together to drive innovation and excellence in Stem education, to ensure that students are well-prepared to make a contribution and benefit in the application of the 4IR.
The conference is being held in collaboration with the University of Namibia, Namibia University of Science and Technology, National Commission on Research Science and Technology (NCRST), the Ministry of Higher Education, Technology and Innovation and the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture.
NCRST general manager Nhlanhla Lupahla said science, technology, engineering, the arts and mathematics (Steam) is important for the future of production in that more can be produced. He added that Steam subjects will promote sustainability in various sectors in society such as the energy sector.
“If we [embrace] technology then our processes will be more efficient and we get security in all these aspects, be it food production or energy,” Lupahla said.
He added that the introduction, of arts and design into the normally known Stem subjects calls for the incorporation of an artistic perspective.
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