STATES, STATELESSNESS AND EDUCATION - POST-RETURN INTEGRATION OF NAMIBIANS TRAINED ABROAD
AbstractThe form and extent of education in countries of asylum is the product of refuge-seeker persistence in articulating demand, the scope for NGO educational support and host government attitudes to the refuge-seekers in question. (Over the past decade, strategy has been to discourage education that would facilitate labour market access in countries of asylum.) In camps, the result has been generally poor quality basic education for a minority of refugee children and rudimentary skills training for a tiny proportion of adults. Huge efforts are also made for small numbers of refugees to pursue at upper secondary and tertiary levels, often in third countries willing to offer specially negotiated places. While there is little information about the intrinsic or instrumental worth of such training, in countries of asylum, resettlement or origin, governments play a crucial role in allowing exiles to work or not and in providing mechanisms for qualification recognition. A study of post-war integration in Namibia included components on employer attitudes to former exiles and a larger-scale tracer study of those who as refugees had received training abroad. Initial fears on the part of the stayer population, of labour market saturation by well-educated returnees, have proved unfounded as formal qualifications are not matched with work experience. Nevertheless, returned exiles are better educated overall than stayers and, only three years after independence, are more likely to be in employment. In a country with high and growing unemployment, this has been made possible by bureaucratic expansion and affirmative action. Employers have strong feelings about the quality of training received in different countries, (data suggest that this may have more to do with levels of training provided than with national politics). Few of those with basic vocational skills have found work, although some are seeking further qualifications. The government has done little to help. The competency rating scheme is inefficient although plans are being made to strengthen it. The system of credit transfer applied to professional and academic qualifications, still bound by South African restrictions, is seen by many as the biggest obstacle to public sector employment. Loopholes have been found to enable non-recognised educational and health professionals to work, often outside conventional career structures. There is much bitterness among those who remain excluded. This, the frustration of those to be retrenched in bureaucratic contraction and the anger of ex-combatants with no tangible gain for their sacrifice combine to produce a potent threat to national stability.
UNSPECIFIED. (1994) STATES, STATELESSNESS AND EDUCATION - POST-RETURN INTEGRATION OF NAMIBIANS TRAINED ABROAD. INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF EDUCATIONAL DEVELOPMENT, 14 (3). pp. 299-319. ISSN 0738-0593