Higher education in Namibia started around 1979/80. Prior to this, all students wishing to pursue higher education had to study abroad or through distance education.
The Namibia University of Science and Technology, a public university, has its roots in the establishment of the Academy for Tertiary Education (Act No. 13 of 1980). Classes in Teacher Training and Secretarial Courses started on 14 January 1980.
Five years later, Act No. 9 of 1985 was promulgated and, by it, the Academy ñ comprising a university component, a Technikon and a College for Out of School Training (COST) ñ was established.
The Technikon offered 17 Diploma and Certificate programmes in Agriculture and Nature Conservation, Personnel Management, Public Administration, Cost Accounting, Secretarial and Communicative and Legal Training. The College for Out-of-School Training (COST) offered 13 certificate courses in Technical and Commerce/General areas. Some courses included pre-tertiary teacher training. Shortly after independence in 1990, it was resolved to restructure the three components into two independent higher education institutions a university and a polytechnic.
Act No. 18 of 1992 saw the establishment of the University of Namibia, leaving the Technikon and COST together as a stand-alone unit, however, under the auspices of the new university, until the promulgation of the Polytechnic Act. Two years later, with the establishment of the Polytechnic of Namibia (Act No. 33 of 1994), Technikon Namibia and COST merged to become the Polytechnic of Namibia. The Act provided for the phasing out of vocational training courses and the granting of degrees by the Polytechnic.
The former ìCity Campusî (former Academy) became the main campus of the Polytechnic under its founding Rector, Dr Tjama Tjivikua, who was appointed on 04 August 1995. The first meeting of Council was held on 10 August 1995. These events sped up and completed the de-linkage of the two institutions of higher education in December 1995. Thus, with effect from 01 January 1996, the Polytechnic became independent and autonomous.
After 20 years of tremendous growth and relentless pursuit of a new status under the visionary leadership of Dr Tjivikua, the Polytechnic was renamed as the Namibia University of Science and Technology (Act No. 7 of 2015). The University is ranked as the best higher education institution in Namibia, since 2002 (PMR Africa) and most innovative institution /or organisation in Namibia (PMR Africa 2014 and 2016), and has won numerous local and international awards.