22 January 2013

Namibia: Teachers Need Help to Improve - Nantu

THE Namibia National Teachers Union (Nantu) has ascribed the 0,5 percentage point drop in the Grade 12 pass rate - from 93,1% in 2011 to 92,6% last year - to a lack of support, monitoring and evaluation of teaching.

The union emphasised the need to mainstream continuing professional development of teachers as a matter of urgency.

Moreover, the union said, teachers should be involved in policy formulation so that they can fully claim ownership of training programmes hatched by the Ministry of Education.

It said ministry officials, school managements and teachers should all reflect on last year's performance, and devise strategies to improve results.

Similarly, it said, there should be individual teacher subject commitments and dedication to schoolwork, calling also on parents and learners to support the schools they are attached to.

"Through collaboration of the stakeholders in education the results will be improved," said Nantu secretary general Basilius Haingura.

He said there is an overemphasis on results, but not enough on the quality of the results, saying the general results of critical subjects like Mathematics, Science and Accounting were disappointingly between 30% and 40% in the lower grades.

The union also took note that many of the Grade 12 graduates would find difficulty to enter the labour market, and urged those who failed to make the grade to improve some of their subjects that would enable them to enter tertiary institutions, including vocational training centres.

Of the 19 027 candidates who wrote the examinations, only 7 500 got university admission.

Nantu further expressed "great satisfaction" with the education ministry's recent decision to introduce free primary education.

"[This] move will ensure that one of the biggest barriers to access to education has been removed," said Haingura, but the union nonetheless said it is worrisome that funds to be dispatched to schools are being delayed.

"This will affect teaching and learning, which will lead to poor performance at the end of the day," Haingura said.

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