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Incorporate clean energy modules into the curriculum – Shafudah

2024-05-15  Paheja Siririka

Incorporate clean energy modules into the curriculum – Shafudah

Natangue Shafudah believes Namibia needs to look at its curriculum, starting from vocational training centres, and try to include subjects extensively touching on renewable energy and green hydrogen. 

Shafudah is Japan’s Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) scholarship recipient, who did a PhD in Material Science, specialising in renewable energy. 

While studying, he was exposed to the energy sector and the impact it has on the community, which culminated in the development of green hydrogen. 

He heard the concept of green hydrogen for the first time in 2018 while in Japan.

“These types of courses are very important because material science is a building block of any industrialisation. If you look at mining, building infrastructure and houses, they all need material – and these are the types of content that should be taught everywhere, especially at the grassroots level,” stated Shafudah.

He said as far as green hydrogen is concerned, Namibia does not have the necessary skills. 

He references the information provided by hydrogen commissioner James Mnyupe, who has spoken of the potential the sector could bring if properly tapped into.

“These are technical people who understand material science and engineering. We need to develop Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) programmes – not only at the university level. We need artisans who can, for example, weld pipelines so that hydrogen does not escape. Hydrogen is light. If you are not a good welder, you’re not going to weld pipes properly, and that is something that needs to be taught in schools,” he stated.

Shafudah is heading the green hydrogen project at the University of Namibia (Unam), building capacity by supervising students funded by various entities who are doing research related to renewable energy and green hydrogen.

He said TVET institutions must be one of the first places where the courses are taught, adding there are a lot of aspects that need to be covered.

“We are training students in hydrogen safety. We don’t want to be caught unaware of safety protocols when the green hydrogen projects officially start rolling out. So, we have a course specifically for that,” said the passionate engineer.

He added that they also train students on material development and fertiliser. Hence, this will come a long way, considering that Namibia is focused on ensuring food security and production.

Unam approved the establishment of a Namibia Green Hydrogen Research Institute following its Senate approval on 2 September 2021.

The university then embarked on this initiative to establish a national institute in May 2021, and has since secured several local and international partners to drive green hydrogen research in namibia, making this the first National Green Hydrogen Research Institute in Namibia.

The Institute will serve as a national research and capacity-building hub under the university to conduct local research and development, as well as to provide innovative solutions. 

It will also upskill and reskill Namibians, and develop local businesses across the value chain of Green Hydrogen.

2024-05-15  Paheja Siririka

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