20 December 2012

Namibia: Teachers Receive Help to Improve English

Windhoek — The Ministry of Education has launched an English Language Proficiency Programme (ELPP) to improve the quality of education in the classroom by giving teachers the opportunity to upgrade their proficiency in English.

The Under Secretary of Formal Education Charles Kabajani, who spoke at the release of the Namibia Senior Secondary Certificate (NSSC) results yesterday, said the ministry hopes when teachers have completed the programme, they will be able to speak, read, write, understand and teach successfully through the English language without difficulty.

A countrywide needs assessment confirmed the findings of a 1999 study that there is a need for an English Language Proficiency Programme. In fact, the majority of teachers surveyed said an English proficiency programme was long overdue.

In September 2011, a diagnostic placement test to establish the English proficiency level of individual teachers and final year student teachers was conducted to determine teachers' weaknesses in English so that an appropriate programme could be designed for them.

"In early 2012, the results of the diagnostic test became available and teachers were placed in the appropriate levels of the English language proficiency programme, namely pre-intermediate, intermediate and advanced," said Kabajani.

During the first quarter of 2012, the curriculum, course and interactive study materials were developed according to the abovementioned levels of English language proficiency. Kabajani said from August to October this year, the study materials were tested in the Ohangwena Region.

"It was planned that at the end of the pilot programme, proficiency tests would be written in order to determine the teachers' progress as far as their language proficiency is concerned," said Kabajani.

The pilot programme was implemented to inform the full implementation of the English Language Proficiency Programme.

In September 2012, an additional diagnostic proficiency test of individual practising teachers, who could not participate in the 2011 proficiency test was conducted. Kabajani further noted that the exit proficiency tests of the pilot programme were written in the Ohangwena Region recently and the results will be communicated to the participants early in the new year.

The study materials are currently being revised to be ready for distribution prior to the full implementation of the programme.

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