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Erongo teachers differ with governor on workshop absenteeism

by Edy Narib


The Erongo regional education directorate says it is imperative to continuously train teachers to upgrade their skills and competencies even if it means leaving the learners with minimum supervision.
This follows the recent pronouncement by the governor, Cleophas Mutjavikua who complained about teachers attending too many workshops that are counterproductive.
Mutjavikua described the workshops as enemies of progress that hamper the performance of municipalities and other institutions.
Speaking at a groundbreaking ceremony in Arandis, Mutjavikua said, “You don’t need to attend a workshop every month, while there are other matters that need urgent attention. Some of these are major projects that need to be approved.”
The regional education deputy director, Marc Jacobs, however, defended teachers’ absenteeism from school saying the workshops and training camps are justified and imperative for his institution.

He adds that his office is aware of many training camps and workshops that took place during the first quarter of the year and that there are still others yet to be conducted to ensure that teachers are able to provide maximum output to the benefit of the learners in the region and the nation at large.
“Before sending a teacher to a workshop, we ensure that all necessary precautions are taken into account, to ensure that the learners are not left behind idling. We give guidance and directives and it is up to the principal to ensure that the directives are implemented,” Jacobs noted.
According to him, the teachers are also required by the directives to prepare all their class work in advance before they leave for the workshops.
Those who stand in for teachers who attend workshops, he explained, should then implement or proceed with what has been prepared in advance by the subject or class teachers.  
Asked if that it is not wise to conduct the training during school holidays so as not to leave any child unattended, the deputy director said holidays are fully utilised but that period alone is not enough as there are too many subjects, since some teachers offer more than one subject or class.
“Look for instance from grades 8 to 10, there are nine subjects offered or that a learner is supposed to have, meaning that it is impossible to give attention to all those subjects or train them for that matter,” he stated.   
He said his directorate has since introduced some Saturdays as school learning or teaching days given the rising need to achieve maximum results by the end of the school calendar.
Learners’ progress, he stated and empowering the teachers are on top of his priorities.