Labour Studies Certificate

A worker education program run by LaRRI, in collaboration with Workers’ College in Durban, and supported by Rosa Luxemburg Foundation, South Africa.

For more information about how to apply, please send us an email at info (at) larri-namibia (dot) org or directly to the education coordinator at universityofworkers (at)larri-namibia (dot) org. 

NEW! Click here to see the photos of the Labour Certificate graduation ceremony of the School of 2013.


(The following text is an adapted version from Herbert Jauch’s ’10 years of LaRRI’s Labour Diploma Course: A Reflection’, available here.)


In 2002, the Labour Resource and Research Institute (LaRRI) introduced a new worker education programme, which became known as the labour diploma course.  As a labour-based research and education institute, we noticed that worker education in Namibia was very limited, consisting basically of short-term on-the-job training at various workplaces and of short workshops (usually 2-5 days) offered by Namibian trade unions to their members.  Both initiatives focus rather narrowly on specific skills and topics.  Furthermore, these initiatives where not recognised outside the workplace or the trade union structures.


LaRRI thus sought to broaden the scope and improve the quality of worker education programmes by providing a course that combines knowledge acquisition and analytical skills and thus serves to strengthen the capacity of workers and their trade unionists.  We investigated other worker education programmes in the SADC region and noticed the diploma courses that were offered by the Workers’ College in Durban, South Africa in collaboration with the University of KwaZulu-Natal.  These courses provided a kind of “model” for LaRRI’s labour diploma course and the support we received from the Workers’ College, especially it director Kessie Moodley, enabled us to start a similar course in Namibia.  It soon became so popular that it became one of LaRRI’s flagship programmes.  It serves to prepare workers and trade unionists for leadership positions at various levels and consists of 6 modules, whose contents are determined in consultation with Namibia’s trade unions.


Over the past years, the labour diploma course was attended by trade unionists active at various levels (ranging from shop stewards to general secretaries) that have at least a grade 10 or equivalent education.  Each course accommodates about 25 – 35 people and LaRRI tries to ensure equal gender representation by reserving up to 50% of all places available for women.  The course’s overall aim was to strengthen the participants’ ability to contribute to the building of the labour movement in Namibia and 160 trade unionists have successfully completed the course to date.


LaRRI’s labour diploma course is accredited by the Namibia Qualifications Authority (NQA) in 2007 and consists of six modules, namely:

Who can apply?

The course is offered to people who are active in their trade union and have at least a grade 10 or equivalent education.  We can accommodate about 25 people per course and in case that we receive more applications we will have to make a choice.  The following criteria will be used:

¨      Level of active involvement in union

¨      Support from the applicant’s union

¨      Spread of participants among different unions and different regions


The course aims to strengthen the participants’ ability to contribute to the building of the labour movement in Namibia.


What is covered in the course?

The course currently has six modules:


Module 1: Trade Union History and Theory

The module covers the history of the international labour movement and the different types of trade unions.  It also includes the history of May Day and the emergence of trade unions in Southern Africa.  Key issues are the history of trade unions in Namibia, labour relations before and after independence, trade unions and politics, and the international trade union movement.


Module 2: Namibia’s Political Economy

The module explores the concept of “political economy”, Namibia’s pre-colonial, and colonial economy as well as the developments after independence.  Emphasis is placed on examining economic and social structures and the formation of social classes.  The module also looks at labour migration, the land question in a historical perspective, and the changing family and gender relations in Namibia.


Module 3: Trade Union Organisation and Management

The module deals with human resource development in unions; union administration; including financial administration and budgeting; planning and review of activities; translating vision and mission statements into strategic plans; project management and trade union investments.


Module 4: Affirmative Action and Gender

The module examines gender in Namibia with particular emphasis on gender and law, gender at work and gender in trade unions.  The affirmative action section includes a historic overview of the concept and relevant international experiences.  It examines affirmative action in the Namibian context, particularly the implementation of the Affirmative Action (Employment) Act.


Module 5:  Labour Law and Collective Bargaining

The module examines Namibia’s legal system, and the labour law principles.  It examines labour relations and collective bargaining, including various case studies.   The module also compares the Labour Act of 1992 with the incoming Act of 2004.  Emphasis is placed on dispute resolution, basic conditions of employment and the social security system.


Module 6: Globalisation

This module examines the globalisation process form a historical perspective.  It looks at the ideology underpinning globalisation and at the role played by transnational corporations and international financial institutions such as the World Bank and IMF.  Other aspects covered are export processing zones, structural adjustment programmes, gender and globalisation, international trade, NEPAD and responses to globalisation.


In addition, the participants will participate in a 2-3 days classes of English for academic purposes and are also offered introductory to computer classes at the Namibia College for Open Learning (NAMCOL).  The computer classes are voluntary.


How is the course organised?

The course is structured this way; students are required to spend about 128 hours mandatory prior reading, 279 hours of contact classes, self-study and research, 18 hours for basic computer skills, optional/availed 108 hours for supplementary examination and another 108 hours for assignment.

Classes run from Monday to Friday from 8h30 – 13h00 and Monday of the week after class, the students sit for the module exam.  The afternoons is used for additional reading, to revise the work and to prepare assignments.

The participants are required to attend at least 80% of all classes and have to plan their other work accordingly.  They will have to come to Windhoek to attend classes and will also have to prepare assignments during that time.  A written examination will take place at the end of each module.


How will the course be recognised?

Successful participants/graduates receive a certificate jointly issued by the University of Kwazulu-Natal, the Workers College in South Africa and LaRRI.

LaRRI has formally applied for accreditation with the Namibian National Qualifications Authority (NQA) and the course was accredited at the level of a university certificate in 2007. It is now being listed on the Namibia Qualification Framework. The registration is in process.


How will the course participants be assessed?

Each participant will receive a mark from the tutors for his/her participation during the course, for his/her assignments and his/her examinations.  Exams will be written at the end of each module and each student has to write one assignment per module.  The final mark will be calculated as follows:

Examination:                50%

Assignments:               40%

Participation:                10%


What are the costs?

According to our experiences over the past years, the real costs of the course are about N$ 12 000 per participant.  We cannot expect the participants to pay the full amount and LaRRI has managed to receive support from our partner organisations overseas to subsidise the costs.

Each participants pays acommitment course fees of N$ 1 800.  A deposit of N$ 700 has to be paid at registration and the rest can be paid in installments.

Participants are responsible for organising their own transport and accommodation while attending classes in Windhoek.  LaRRI provides breakfast, lunch and soft drinks in the course of the day.

Where does the course take place?

The classes takes place at a suitable venue near the LaRRI offices in Mungunda Street, Katutura.


Teachers and tutors for the course are drawn form the LaRRI staff, from the University of Namibia, the labour movement, the Ministry of Education and from NGOs.  They are contracted in to carry out the teaching and to mark the exams and the assignments.