The former campus of the Academy of Tertiary Education in the suburb of Windhoek West became the Main Campus of PoN in 1992 and the first rector was appointed on 4 August 1995 (Namibia University of Science and Technology, 2017). The first meeting of PoN’s Council was held on 10 August 1995. This event accelerated and completed the delink of the two institutions of higher education in December 1995. PoN became an independent and autonomous institution in January 1996. PoN held its first graduation ceremony where the Founding President of the GRN delivered the keynote address on 18 April 1996 (Namibia University of Science and Technology, 2017).
At the end of 2012 the GRN issued a number of directives to reform the higher education sector in Namibia. The purpose of these directives was to address the goal of human resource development of Namibians to uphold Vision 2030 (Office of the President, 2004). The purpose of Vision 2030 is to transform Namibia to a service-driven economy by 2030. These directives identified the need for PoN to be transformed to a university of science and technology to offer career-focused and general academic programmes. In early 2015 the then Minister of Education motivated, after national consultation, the transforming of PoN into the NUST (Namwandi, 2015).
The following concerns were raised in opposition to the transformation of PoN to NUST during the national consultation meetings as discussed in the Namibian Parliament (Namwandi, 2015). These six issues were: firstly whether NUST would only be a university that offers higher education in science and technology only; secondly whether NUST would be a replica of UNAM. The third concern was whether the establishment of NUST would be in the interests of higher education in Namibia and the fourth was whether there were realistic plans in place to achieve the aims and objectives and whether NUST was likely to achieve and maintain the set standards. The fifth concern was whether resources were available to support the transformation of PoN to NUST. The last concern was whether NUST would have the capacity, skills and infrastructure to specialise in science (Namwandi, 2015).
The arguments for the transformation of PoN to NUST were that it would strengthen applied research and improve human resources, skills and knowledge in Namibia. According to the motivational speech delivered in support of this transformation, these concerns can be addressed over time as the process of transformation was set for five years (Namwandi, 2015). The question remains whether the five years set for the transformation of this magnitude was not too short.
The governing body of NUST is vested in its Council, which is the supreme policy-making body. The Senate is responsible for the academic component of the institution, the Vice-Chancellor, its Chief Academic and Administrative officer, and a Students Representative Council. NUST, effective from January 2015, offers the following qualifications: 23 Certificates, 21 Undergraduate and 2 Postgraduate, 22 Diplomas, 43 Bachelor degrees, 11 Professional Bachelor degrees, 27 Bachelor Honours degrees, 15 Master degrees and 3 Doctoral degrees in ninety programmes in fields of study ranging from Computer Science and Informatics, Engineering (Civil, Electrical Power, Electronics and Telecom, Mining and Metallurgy, Industrial) and Architecture to Biomedical Sciences, Environmental Health Sciences, Mathematics and Statistics, Communication, English, Criminal Justice, Economics, Accounting, Agriculture, Geomatics, Spatial Science, Land Administration and Property Studies (Namibia University of Science and Technology, 2017).
Since the establishment of PoN, now transformed to NUST, the institution has shown a considerable growth in the number of students and staff. The following table reflects the number of students as from 2011 to 2015.