Education Indaba convened


The Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture convened a three-day high-level conference aimed at taking a critical look at some critical subjects in which learners have been habitually performing dismally.
The Indaba was aimed at deliberating on how best to strengthen and improve learner performance in agriculture, biology and life science through resource allocation among other interventions, The Villager can reliably inform.
While colossal strides have been taken by the ministry, with the full backing of the national teaching staff in mathematics and physical science, Education Minister Katrina Hanse-Himarwa emphasised that subjects like agriculture and biology had not been given the needed attention hence the dismal student performance.
“The drive to improve the quality of teaching and learning through targeted interventions in mathematics and physical science has been our key focus area since independence and with the inception of ETSIP more resources have been availed to these subjects. However, subjects like biology and agriculture took the back seat and as a result did not get their fair share of attention and resource allocation,” said the minister.
Speaking to The Villager exclusively, Chief Education Officer responsible for Advisory Services and coordination of mathematics and sciences, Loide Kapenda, hailed the first-ever caucus by a record 120 delegates from schools all over the region as the right step in the right direction towards improving student performance in the three targeted subjects.
“We wanted to interact with the teachers to interrogate the results of these subjects by looking at how we are currently performing, the problems we are having and to bring out solutions. We used to think that mathematics and physics were difficult, but now we are struggling with biology, agriculture and life sciences and the results of these subjects had become stagnant with no much improvement,” said Kapenda.
Briefing The Villager last week after the teachers’ conference, Director of Planning and Development in the education ministry, Adelhaid Awases, expressed concern over the overall quality of education, which she said could only the ameliorated if teachers were to be adequately equipped.
“We are of course concerned about the quality of education and quality education can only be achieved if our teachers are fully equipped and not only equipped in general because there are subjects that are very critical to achieving Vision 2030, and these includesScience andtechnology, so agriculture, aiology and life sciences are very critical for us a country as we want to reach Vision 2030,” she said.
However, when contacted for comment as to why these subjects were not being tackled well by secondary school learners, Senior Director of Education in the Ohangwena Region, Simaata Sibeya, lambasted teachers as giving little content to students during teaching hours.
“In most cases what we normally get is that even during the lessons, which take 40 minutes, certain teachers cover only 15 minutes. These remaining minutes end up not being utilised, the teacher ends up giving an activity instead of giving maximum lesson deliverance. I urge teachers to prepare before-hand in order to give quality teaching,” said Sibeya.  
 Meanwhile, Hanse-Himarwa submitted that Namibia’s education sector is currently limping owing to the failure to upgrade teacher qualifications to match the levels they are teaching at, content knowledge in specific subjects of their specialization as well as exposing them to innovative ways of improvising to cope with the practical components of the syllabi.