As 2011 draws to an end, the education sector remains stuck in a plethora of problems, although the year witnessed the country’s first ever education conference meant to confront the problems.
Some of the thorny issues that still need redress include the achievement of ‘One-child, One-text-book’ policy, proper accommodation facilities for rural teachers, the payment of bush allowances for teachers in remote areas and the creation of a curriculum that suits industrial needs at tertiary institutions.
Dr. Abraham Iyambo and his deputy, Dr. David Namwandi have been trotting around the country to assess the state of the education system and we can certainly not judge them as victors or failures because time is the best judge.
The most topical discussion after the Education Conference was the survey that showed that about 90% of the teachers in the country are not competitive in the English language and these are the same teachers expected to nurture our children.
To say the least, for a country that wants to fill the skills gap in the economy, such statistics come slightly short of pathetic.
The education conference brought together experts within the sector to deliberate how to bring about improvements within the sector on some of these problems but perhaps next year’s follow up conference will be the best platform for stock-taking, not now.
Government needs to dig deep into its coffers to finance the implementation of some of these recommendations if the country wants to see the sector transform itself before Vision 2030 becomes blurry.
The mere fact that the industry claims that most graduates are unemployable, because they lack the basic needs required to adjust into a professional set up, means Iyambo has a herculean task to complete come 2012.
For Iyambo to achieve the same success as he did in the fishing industry, he has a tough 2012 ahead, as 2011 was more for setting the tone.
Teachers in Kavango or Oshakati or any other outskirt areas need incentives. Pupils in Okatope and Ombalantu need books and at the same time, teachers in Windhoek and the rest of the country need to sharpen their English; that is the reality.
The education sector will not benefit from cosmetic changes; it needs a real plan of action, or else we will not see the difference between this regime and that of our first education Minister now Prime Minister, Nahas Angula.
Iyambo, in 2012 has to prove he is not another Angula in a different face.
We need 250 000 accountants in the country and we do not have half of that, we need engineers and we do not have much of that. We just do not have an answer on where we can train our actuarial scientists, God knows what will happen if South Africa were to shut us out.
As a country, we sit with a sarcastic statistic of one forensic scientist, hell helps us, and what do we do if ‘he’ goes for an early appointment with the Almighty.
The mere fact that you had hundreds of citizens sitting in the historical conference this year, is only but a statistic even the Premier knows the country needs vocational training to harness all the talent available.
For years now, our tertiary institutions are muddled in controversy, porn tapes are produced there, allegations of sex for marks puts the icing on the cake and the Almighty knows what else is happening there, because the fact that we seem to record more controversies than marks means those places need to be cleansed.
Our students have long been crying for a Bus Shuttle Service to ferry them back and forth.
What is the plan for the poor children who have to be left out of school, because they cannot cross the oshanas due to floods?
The Ministry next year plans to expand on vocational training.
The coming year is likely to see a holistic approach from pre-school, pre-primary, primary, secondary, Namcol, vocational, higher education and life-long learning, to address the problem of poor-skilled graduates and street hawking.
While we wish the good doctor a speedy recovery this Xmas, we look forward to a more result-oriented 2012.