The Engineering Professionals Association (EPA) Scholarship Fund Trust was established in 1997 under the name EPA Bursary Fund Trust, was founded as an umbrella trust, under which several scholarship funds sponsored by various donors may be managed by a Board of Trustees appointed by EPA and, where applicable, the sponsors of the scholarship funds concerned.
The Trust was reconstituted on 27 March 2007 under a new Trust Deed and Board of Trustees. The original sponsor of this scholarship programme was Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency and Frederick Muketi, President of EPA takes us through the scholarship fund.
Q: What does the EPA Scholarship aim to achieve?
A: It was originally meant to contribute to solving the need created by the brain drain of quali ed engineers, had who left the country just after independence. The long term plan was to capacitate the Namibian government to have home-grown engineers.
Because most ordinarily aspiring students were from previously disadvantaged Science- Technology-Engineering-Mathematics (STEM) academic backgrounds, this scholarship was meant to inspire as well as to enable aspiring students to venture in the engineering eld.
The mission of the Trust is to provide nancial assistance to deserving students wishing to study at a Namibian or South African university or other tertiary technical institution towards a recognised degree or diploma in engineering or an engineering related discipline.
Typically, a sponsor wishing to provide funds for this purpose would donate money to a Fund speci cally set up under the Trust in accordance with the sponsor’s speci c requirements.
The appointed trustees would manage the sponsor’s Fund in accordance with an agreement concluded with the sponsor at the establishment of the Fund, with EPA administratively handling the budgeting, receipts, investments and disbursements of the Fund.
Q: What are some of the unique features of this scholarship that makes it possible to enable the achievement of the broader goals?
A: As we look back on the strides and successes of the EPA scholarship programme, we have managed to contribute successfully to the engineering fraternity of Namibia by providing the tertiary education of quite a number of engineers, and we still hope to do more and empower more of them in the coming years The programme currently has the capacity to sponsor 10 students but currently, only ve are sponsored by the programme.
We have also decided to spread the scope of the EPA and also o er sponsorship to artisans and technicians. This move came about when we realised that engineers in the eld were currently all the variations of work, some of which should be done by artisans and technicians.
This is essentially, is killing two birds with one stone as the skills and capacity building in the eld are spread while at the same time empowering the workforce of the country.
Q: What are some of the challenges that you encounter in running this scholarship programme?
A: Our observation is that many potential bene ciaries do not know of this programme which is meant to empower them. We do not get many responses to the scholarship fund.
At this juncture, I would like to inform all potential applicants that the Fund will only provide scholarships for studies at a Namibian or other university towards a Bachelor’s degree in engineering (e.g. B. Eng.), but not in technology (e.g. B. Tech.).
All first, second and third year students are encouraged to apply.
Scholarships are granted in the form of interest free loans for one study year at a time, but scholarship recipients may re-apply for subsequent years, depending on academic merit. Conditions apply, and speci c conditions are:
- Namibian citizenship, compliance with specified minimum academic results, financial need, and academic merit.
Further information and an application form may be downloaded from the links in the sidebar.
The application form for scholarships in 2010 should be regarded as indicative only. The latest application form for scholarships is available from the EPA Administrator.
Q: What are some of the challenges that EPA is encountering as an organisation?
A: Many engineers are not really involved in many processes that a ect them in the sector. The engineers who are quali ed and have fast experience in the eld do not contribute much to the betterment of the sector but they are motivated by money. The young and budding ones are still in cocoon and their impact is yet to be felt.
This isolation and lack of drive of engineers has resulted in a situation whereby there is not even a single one appointed as Minister.
We have also lately experienced administrative faults which have resulted in Roads Authority divorcing us as an engineering partner. Although we are currently is the process of rekindling the relationship, it is faults like these that set back the goals of EPA.
Within the engineering sector, we are also experiencing friction and division because of a similar engineering council that has emerged. We believe that we should all work in unity and not have factions or alternative groups working on the same agenda.
Q: What are the future plans of EPA?
A: In order to boost involvement of engineers in sector processes that a ect them, we are planning to invite graduands of the EPA scholarship programme to the next Annual General Meeting.
We are also in the process of getting together the Engineering Act of Namibia with all engineers and stakeholders. This will be a compass to guide all engineers in their operations.
Our organisations has in the past visited major projects like the dam construction in the South last year. We are planning to do the same this year as these visits help in addressing many challenges within the projects and operations in engineering.
The EPA also plans to operate in 100% synchrony will all engineers and stakeholders to make
the sector more conducive to e ciency and maximum production.