By: Lina Amutenya
Teachers Union of Namibia secretary-general Kavihuha Mahongora says his union will, in the future, close down schools whose infrastructure is not up to standard.
This follows after health and safety as a fundamental human right in school was one of the five recommendations from the recently concluded National Education Conference.
He said that as a labour movement, they would monitor the government closely, and if need be, they would close all schools whose infrastructure they deemed to breach health and safety protocols.
“Namibia now moving forward; even the building of schools and architects of schools, must first take those things into concentration. Even in the infrastructure budget, they must start with the issue of improving those infrastructures.
“If there is no such commitment, in terms of resource allocation, which have time frames, they will draw us out as a movement, whether to go extreme, in terms of closing those schools and reporting them to the International Labour Organisation (ILO) that they are violating those fundamental human rights, we will act on it. It’s not negotiable anymore,” said Mahongora.
The unionist further said that all the recommendations from the conference should have a time frame attached, otherwise, they will remain a slogan.
In an interview with The Villager this week, he further said that the union will educate their members to plan and advocate for the recommendations.
The education ministry has committed to implementing five recommendations in the wake of having held a second education summit in Windhoek two weeks ago.
The recommendations evolve around inclusive/equitable education, establishing of safe, healthy schools and stamping out abuse.
Regarding safety at schools, regional education offices in Namibia are tasked to help schools manage inclusivity while minimising abuse amongst learners.
According to the education, arts and culture ministry, this needs to start with a focus on the needs of rural schools.
Regarding learning skills for life and work, education ministry executive director Sanet Steenkamp said, “there is a support that teachers gets as a role player to achieve the outputs that are recommended to achieve and need for partnerships and understanding energies as criterial to in achieving successful outcomes.”
On digital learning and transformation as a recommendation, she said the goal of achieving this is important for improving teaching and learning experiences and preparing learners for a digitalised world of work.
“Through multi-stakeholder collaboration, contextual constraints can be overcome to enable implementation of digital learning. The government should negotiate bulk deals to improve the affordability of devices and connectivity,” said the ED.
She said there are many inter-dependencies within teaching as a profession that make the task a complex one to address.
“There is a need for improved system-level planning and a set of agreed standards and goals for the profession and for a professional body to be established.”
Concerning financing of education as a recommendation, Steenkamp said many assessments of education financing concluded that governments should raise more funding to improve education.