6 February 2013

Namibia: Schools Mourn a Hero Gone Too Soon

Oshakati — The death of Minister of Education Dr Abraham Iyambo has shocked the education community.

Grief-stricken teachers and learners alike echoed the general sentiment that the demise of the minister is very painful to bear as he died in the prime of his life.

They say death cruelly robbed the nation of a capable technocrat whose hard work and vision were just beginning to bear fruit.

New Era visited several schools in Oshakati where heartbroken teachers and learners expressed their utter shock and disbelief over the death of Iyambo, whom they described as energetic and the man who had the future of the Namibian child at heart.

"His death is not just a loss to the education sector but the whole country at large. He was a person with a vision. As a science teacher I learned so much from him, not just from the time when he was minister of education but also during the time he was minister of fisheries. And he made our lives easier by educating us about education policies including the general contact with our colleagues," said Jason Peelo, a teacher at Mwadhina gwa Nembenge Secondary School.

Other teachers, including Mwadhina gwa Nembenge Secondary School principal Sakeus Pohamba, described Iyambo as a minister who was busy turning the Namibian education system around for the better.

Among his achievements highlighted by both teachers and learners was the free education policy recently introduced, which is a result of the 2011 education conference.

"People from different quarters criticised the education conference without understanding that he (Iyambo) simply brought together the stakeholders in education to understand what needed to be done for education and take us from our comfort zones. He left too soon but I believe he has prepared us for the future and his legacy will continue to live on," said Pohamba.

Learners were more concerned if they will ever get another minister as good, caring and motivated as the late Iyambo.

Taati Shapopi, a Grade 12 learner at Iipumbu Senior Secondary School said Iyambo especially understood the plight of poor Namibian children and their guardians.

"Apart from introducing free education at the primary level, this year we also received hardcover notebooks, something that had never happened before.

He knew that many children come from poor families. He was like a parent to us and we don't know if we will ever get a person like him again," said Shapopi.

Simon Shigweda, a teacher at Oshakati Senior Secondary School felt Iyambo died too soon as he was just at the top of turning around the education system and getting it on track.

"Unlike other ministers who sat in the comfort of their offices, Dr Iyambo used to go out and see how teaching and learning was progressing. He was a people's person who was willing to listen - he would never close the door if you had a problem concerning education. His death is a big loss," said Iipumbu Senior Secondary School Principal Sidney Simone.

Grade 12 learner Ndapewa Adolf and Paulus Paavo, a Grade 10 learner, both at Mwadhina gwa Nembenge said Iyambo's death left many of his short-term and long-term initiatives still very unfulfilled.

They said Iymbo should have lived longer to witness the outcomes of his hard work.

Iyambo died on Saturday in London in the United Kingdom where he was on official governmnet business.

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