N. Sylvia Naris and I. Wilfred Ukpere*
Policies adopted by tertiary educational institutions play a key role in determining the future of an institution. When they are applied and monitored effectively, most of these policies bear positive results for the institution. Therefore, assessing the Polytechnic of Namibia (PoN) policy and practices are imperative. The HR Code is a policy document of the PoN and the main objective of the study was to evaluate the effectiveness of the HR Code: Staff Development and Training (SDT) of the institution. The research has established motivating factors for drafting the HR Code: SDT and analysed its weaknesses in order to trace whether staff development is linked to strategic goals of the PoN. The researchers have also made an earnest attempt to find out reasons why staff members resign after attending development programmes, which would assist the institution to map out retaining strategies, as it prepares itself to become a leading university of technology that requires more and better qualified staff. The enquiry adopted a case study approach because it dealt with a specific institution in Namibia. A triangulation research method was utilised to solicit information from academics, administrative and support staff, by conducting semi-structured interviews with top management, Head of Departments (HoDs), sectional heads and exstaff members. A closed-ended questionnaire was distributed to 230 staff members of which 130 responded, which gave a considerable satisfactorily response rate of 65%. Institutional documents were also reviewed to corroborate empirical data that was collected. Research revealed that the aim of drafting the HR Code: SDT was to improve qualification levels of Namibian staff members and to improve work performances of staff members within the PoN. However, research proved conclusively that there were no measurable mechanisms established to evaluate and monitor that the objective was achieved; there were also no staff development plans linked to strategic goals of the institution; staff members’ work performance was not assessed after training and there were no retention strategies in place. It is evident from the research findings that the desired results of the HR Code: SDT will not be achieved and therefore, recommendations are proposed that the PoN effectively communicates objectives of the HR Code to staff members; develop a comprehensive and complimentary staff development policy; a staff development plan; an innovative retention strategy and appoint a staff development officer to monitor and ensure that desired goals are achieved as means to save the institution from an unnecessary waste of financial, material and human resources. The research focus is on Namibians and permanent resident staff that have been employed at the institution until July 2008 and hence excluded non-Namibians, who are appointed on contract bases. It will be in the best interest of PoN to conduct a study the concerning effectiveness of academic staff development programmes that are offered by the CTL because tertiary educational institutions rely on quality of staff to deliver effective services to students. An investigation into the perceptions of non-Namibians regarding staff development and training at the PoN should also be studied. The value of this paper is that, by investigating the effectiveness of the HR Code: SDT, recommendations have been postulated to improve training and development initiatives in order to enhance staff members’ work performance and qualification levels, which will enable the PoN to realise its vision of becoming one of the most powerful institutions to be reckoned with within Namibia and the African continent, in general.
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