16 July 2008

Namibia: The Education Corner


The Education Corner is a one-to-one bi-monthly column between the Ministry of Education and the public, aimed at educating the public about educational issues and encouraging them to get involved in the development and improvement of the quality of education.

Today's column focuses on the SMS's that we received over the past week.

In the past week we received 28 SMS's sent to 38747 (the same as ETSIP on your cellphone's touchpad). You have gone for some really challenging issues, which we welcome. The three messages below were felt to be the best last week and each was awarded with N$100 airtime. And next week there will again be three prizes of NS100 airtime for the most interesting and useful comments or suggestions on ETSIP, so keep those messages coming in please.

Winners of the best 3 SMS's are announced every Thursday night on the ETSIP NBC National Radio programme between 19h00 - 20h00 and will receive their airtime every Friday. The competition is sponsored by Mobile

Telecommunications (MTC) and will run until 01 August 2008. On Thursday night, the topic that will be discussed is 'Vocational Education and Training'.

Please take note that the ETSIP NBC radio programme for the NBC Oshiwambo radio service has been moved from the 13h00-14h00 slot on Tuesdays to the 19h30-20h30 slot on Thursdays.

If you want to know more about ETSIP, listen to these LIVE informative radio programmes on all NBC radio language services and participate in the discussions; visit the ETSIP website at www.etsip.na or contact the Public Relations Office to get a copy of the ETSIP document and brochures.

Below are the winning SMS's and their responses compiled by the ETSIP Programme Manager, Mr Justin Ellis.

Thanks for this wonderful programme. I would like to know how effective a teacher can be who teaches Geography to 120 grade 10s, English to 120 grade 10s, Development Studies to 47 grade 12s and 44 grade 11s? How do you concentrate on the poorer performers with this workload?

This is the kind of message that leaves one full of admiration for our hard-working teachers who are concerned that all their learners should make progress. There are certainly no easy answers to what you have asked, but perhaps you could consider the following.

There seems to be a timetabling problem in your school, so perhaps you could persuade the principal to request help from the circuit inspector or regional office to achieve a better spread of the load between the available teachers and school managers.

Why not discuss your concerns with your colleagues and develop some different ideas? Then try them out to see what works. Using regular assessment and diagnosis should help to identify common things that are not well understood by the learners and that you need to concentrate on. No matter how large or small the class there will always be groups of learners at different levels.

With planning one can have one group learn by discovery on their own while others receive more coaching, for instance. Some learners can help others through peer teaching. Team teaching can also be tried. Using additional resources such as newspaper articles to create interest may also help in your subjects. Let us know what you find!

Please introduce an ETSIP essay competition for young learners.

We agree to your request! In the near future we will announce an ETSIP competition for learners (and maybe even for teachers.) Watch this space! Wonderful prizes to be won!

I'm a school principal of a school which is located deep in the village. There are no houses for teachers and as a result we are accommodated in traditional houses because we are from far away. Now, young teachers from Unam and the Colleges of Education find it hard to adapt and stay for long.

As a result they teach here for a short while, and then transfer to other schools. Can ETSIP make teachers' houses in rural areas priority number one?

Teacher housing in rural areas is not our only priority, but it is certainly one of our main priorities, for the reasons you have stated. Housing is probably the best incentive one could have for getting teachers into remote rural areas.

Some government and international aid resources are going into teacher housing, though it will take time to reach all corners of the country. We have also been talking to financial institutions and trying to persuade them to build rentable accommodation in such areas, in a public-private partnership.

What is interesting, however, is that some teachers who take up the challenge of rural posts get to be well liked and valued in their new communities, and wouldn't dream of moving. So, let's appreciate the role of communities in welcoming teachers who bring new skills and opportunities to their village or settlement.

Look forward to receiving your SMS via 38747!

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