By: Nghiinomenwa-vali Erastus
The Namibia National Students Organisation (Nanso) said it has found that teachers have not been sufficient trained and capacitated to deliver the revised curriculum.
The findings are contained in the summary made public by Nanso spokesperson, Dorthea Iyaloo Nangolo at the end of last month.
“Upon engaging the teachers, school principals, and regional education directorates, one thing was common during all these engagements, and it was that practising teachers are not capacitated to teach the revised curriculum,” Nangolo said.
Their findings also come at a time when the matriculants of 2022 performance was not satisfactory, leading to a series of finger-pointing and blame-shifting within the public education sector.
Nangolo explained that this year’s campaign is particularly crucial given the national education crisis the country finds itself in with efforts geared towards looking at the various issues affecting education and providing strategic and effective recommendations to the government.
She said Nanso stance remains clear that teachers must undergo mandatory training and capacitation, and the subject matter taught in Education courses at institutions of higher learning must be aligned to the revised curriculum.
The Ministry of Basic Education was also asked by The Villager about the quality of teachers and their ability to keep up with the education and economic skills demand.
The ministry was also asked why institutions of higher learning are producing teachers who are unable to teach the country’s curricula.
The basic education ministry told The Villager that it offers presentations to institutions of higher learning prior to any changes related to the curriculum.
The higher learning institutions also get to be informed and take note of curriculum changes as they form part of the National Examination Assessment and Certification Board.
The ministry explained that the Namibia Qualification Authority also requires support from the National Institute for Education Development before accrediting new teaching courses for an institution.
The Ministry of Basic Education has been retraining teachers and offering capacity building to teachers even those who just graduated, with questions being raised if institutions of higher learning teaching courses are perhaps not in line with the curriculum.
The ministry is reportedly looking into all the aspects of the new teaching courses and to make sure the graduates of the courses are able to meet the demands of the market before issuing the letter of support.
Beyond the inadequate training of teachers, other prominent issues discovered by Nanso include the lack of classrooms, resulting in schools teaching their learners under trees, tents and other makeshift structures to accommodate the growing number of learners.
The students’ organisation applauded the schools for their efforts, however, “it is unacceptable, and Nanso calls on the ministry to heed urgently to the President’s directive to accelerate the building of more classrooms”.
According to the basic education ministry, classrooms backlog in February 2023 stood at 4,072 countrywide.
Nanso said it found that there is a lack of learning and teaching materials in schools, especially textbooks and school furniture.
“In fact, some schools do not have any textbooks for AS learners, as such, there is an urgent need to procure textbooks, and other crucial materials needed─ any expectations for effective teaching and learning to take place in these schools is farfetched,” Nangolo said.
On accommodation, learners have to walk at least 30 kilometres to access schools every day, especially in the Kavango East, Kavango West and Zambezi regions.
According to Nanso’s assessment, this is because only a few schools have hostels, and even the hostels that exist cannot accommodate a large number of learners.
In the northern regions, learners have to even cross dangerous flood waters to go to school during the rainy season.
The Nanso leadership recommended that government must, as a matter of urgency, invest in the construction of hostels for both high schools and primary schools.
The student body said the issues unearthed during their visits are a narrow picture of the devastating state of basic education in Namibia.
“We cannot ignore the magnitude of the crisis we find ourselves in as a country. We must respond with strategic mechanisms that address the shopping list of issues affecting access to basic education,” Nangolo stressed.
He said the student body welcomed the agreement reached by the education ministry and the Namibia National Teacher’s Union to address the teacher-to-learner ratio by reducing it to 1/35.
Nanso explained that the overpopulation of classrooms continues to challenge the delivery of quality education, citing the example of the Ndama Primary School in the Kavango East region which has 90 learners in a classroom.
“This is absolutely unacceptable and must be addressed immediately.”
Nanso) recently launched the first phase of the Access to Education Campaign in the Zambezi region. The campaign is themed ‘Spearheading and Restoring Radical Responsiveness Towards the Realisation of Equitable Access to Quality Education in Namibia’.
Upon the completion of the Access to Education Campaign, Nanso will submit an extensive report highlighting all the challenges, and strategic recommendations to the education ministry.
So far, Nanso national leadership has visited numerous schools within the Zambezi, Kavango East, Kavango West, and Ohangwena regions. The Nanso leaders at regional level have also begun assessing the schools within their respective regions. Email: email@example.com