14 January 2013

Namibia: Education Ministry Scrambles for Teachers

Windhoek — As free primary education becomes a reality in Namibia tomorrow when schools re-open, the Ministry of Education is now hard pressed to find teachers to fill vacancies at pre-primary and primary schools.

The Ministry of Education has decided give full effect to an important provision of the Constitution and to provide free pre-primary and primary education.

Dr David Namwandi last week said that in terms of Article 20 of the Constitution, "primary education shall be compulsory and the State shall provide reasonable facilities to render effective this right for every resident within Namibia, by establishing and maintaining State schools at which primary education will be provided free of charge." Namwandi stressed yesterday that parents of Grade 1 learners will not pay for stationery and will also not contribute towards the School Development Fund, since this will be paid for by the State. But parents must provide their children with school uniforms.

To alleviate the shortage of teachers, Education Permanent Secretary, Alfred Ilukena, called on retired teachers who wish to rejoin the teaching profession and non-Namibian qualified teachers to apply for the available teaching positions.

The ministry invited all retired teachers who wish to return to the teaching profession in 2013 to contact the nearest regional education office to register. Ilukena extended the invitation to qualified non-Namibians who wish to teach in Namibia.

The ministry has also invited Grade 12 graduates, holders of the former Senior Certificate or Standard 10 (Grade 12) meeting the University of Namibia (Unam)'s enrolment requirements for a degree in education.

Grade 12 students who wrote the 2012 national examinations, as well as registered students at institutions of higher learning who would like to change their career path, are also invited to apply. Also, mature students who are interested can be considered on the basis of the mature age entry requirements of Unam and are therefore encouraged to apply as well.

All regional education offices are requested to make use of their databases for retired teachers to locate and invite them to apply. Regional education offices are further encouraged to extend their recruitment base beyond the borders of Namibia, especially in subjects for which expertise is in short supply.

Regional directors have also been directed to assess their needs and to start preparations to recruit new teachers. The subject areas in which the prospective applicants are required to specialise in are Khoekhoegowab, Otjiherero, Silozi, Afrikaans, Rukwangali, Thimbukushu, Setswana, Oshikwanyama, Oshindonga and English.

The ministry also identified the need for more teachers in specific subjects at secondary level such as Economics, Accounting, Business Studies, History, and Computer Studies and in all languages be it African or European.

Attempts to get comment on the number of teachers required proved futile, as the permanent secretary could not be reached at the time of going to press.

Meanwhile, Dr Namwandi has sent out a message of condolences to the bereaved family of the late Lovemore Lupalezwi, the Director of Education in the Caprivi Region who died last Wednesday after a long battle with cancer. "I feel very hurt, I know he (Lupalezwi) suffered a lot. We were hoping for the best. We lost someone who is completely indispensable. We in the education ministry will treasure his contribution forever. Our condolences go to his children, his family and the entire education fraternity," he said. Lupalezwi, who was aged 56 at the time of his demise, leaves behind four children. He succumbed to cancer at the Katima Mulilo State Hospital last Wednesday. His funeral is planned for Wednesday this week.

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