Higher education in Namibia started around 1979/80. Prior to this, all students wishing to pursue higher education had to go to South Africa or other countries abroad.
The Namibia University of Science and Technology has its roots in the establishment of the Academy for Tertiary Education by Act No. 13 of 1980. Classes in Teacher Training and Secretarial Courses started on 14 January 1980.
Five years later, another Act, No. 9 of 1985 was promulgated and, by it, the Academy consisting of a university component (the present University of Namibia ), a Technikon, and College for Out of School Training was established. The Technikon offered a total of 17 diploma and certificate courses 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 of the courses included pre-tertiary teacher training.
Shortly after independence in 1990 it was resolved that the three components be collapsed into two independent higher education institutions, namely, a university and a polytechnic.