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Adult education troubled

by Senior Writer Jemima Beukes



The Ministry of Education is facing difficulties in recruiting qualified adult educators because of poor remuneration and inefficient grading structures for such teachers, a leaked report in The Villager’s possession reveals.
Adult education under the National Literacy program was officially launched in September 1992, two years after Namibia gained independence.
The program targets out-of-school youth as well as illiterate and disadvantaged adults especially in the rural areas.
The program aims at promoting further learning among out-of-school youth and adults with a view to reducing existing educational inequalities, as well as improving people’s communication capacity and self-confidence in order to create a well-informed citizenry.
These classes are primarily held on a part-time basis and are attended by an average of 25 learners comprised of grade 10 drop outs and adult illiterate people.
The Villager understands the ministry failed to reach an agreement on the salary and wage grading for the adult educators to effectively plan, design, implement, monitor and evaluate programmes related to adult education and learning, particularly in the regions.
The seven-page report points out the critical need for training and recruitment of adult education staff.
According to the report, a proposal whose purpose is to define and describe the actual functions and duties of professionals engaging in and faciliating learning for adults and to seek alternative job-category for these professionals was made.
 “A number of evaluation studies conducted pointed out the need to train and recruit a cadre of personnel who are competent to teach and organise basic non-formal learning/literacy/skills for adults as critical.
“The need for an enabling education is contingent upon the development and recruitment of a cadre of educators who are sufficiently qualified and competent to deliver quality education,” it states.
Meanwhile, the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Education, Alfred Ilukena argues that it may not be easy to haul in unemployed qualified teachers for the job as adult educators need quite a lot of experience.
“Adult educators are not classified as teachers because adult education is a different learning methodology. And you must keep in mind these adults are in the rural of rural areas. Adult educators are also not on the teaching establishment. We approach people who are willing to assist us and they come for a specific period (nine months),” said Ilukena, adding that Government comtemplates introducing incentives to get these people into the rural areas.
“We are currently reflecting the overal structure to incorporate incentives and ways,” he said noting, however, that a decision on such incentives have not yet been concluded.