15 February 2013

Namibia: Absence of Extrinsic Motivation for Grade 12 Teachers


AT the very outset, I would like to send best compliments for the new academic year to all stakeholders in the academic fraternity. I am grateful to hardworking teachers and learners whose mindsets crafted a standard of performance which is above average.

To those individuals and entities who could not attain anticipated targets, I am wishing them vigour and determination as they seek to meet targets. It is imperative to acknowledge motivation as one of the driving forces underlying victory in any given setting. Motivation is the force that drives the course of human action. It takes two forms, intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. In a nutshell, intrinsic motivation comes from within an individual, whereas extrinsic motivation comes from the environment in which an individual functions.

As an education management scholar and practitioner, I have observed a number of institutions motivating their teachers extrinsically, by hosting award ceremonies at school, as well as at circuit and regional level. During these ceremonies teachers who have worked hard in meeting targets are awarded certificates. As a matter of observation, these ceremonies mainly award teachers on the basis of Grade 10 national examination results.

When national examination results for Grade 12 becomes due, these ceremonies die a natural death pending resurrection during the following year's Grade 10 results. This is unjustifiable, as it appears to create an impression that Grade 10 results are more crucial than Grade 12 results. It is also observed that people appear to be more excited by Grade 10 results than by Grade 12 results.

Given their intrinsic motivation and resources at their disposal, Grade 12 teachers usually have to work hard to meet targets for which their manpower will not be recognized for the target met. Grade 10 and 12 results are equally significant, but we must not lose sight of the fact that Grade 12 results are the determinant of an individual's admission to tertiary education and their subsequent entrance into the labour market to boost the economy.

The capacity for Grade 10 to conduct such a vital undertaking is extremely low, given the current merit and stature of Grade 10 certificates. In light of the above arguments, it is essential to motivate our teachers who achieved significant passing rates in both grades. This will ensure well-balanced recognition of outstanding performance by all teachers concerned. It will further strengthen competitiveness between teachers as they seek to uplift the standard of performance in their specialized subjects in particular, and their institution at large.

I strongly believe that certificates alone that are awarded to teachers do not have the full capacity to shape future outcomes by great margins. Henceforth, on top of certificates, well-performing teachers should be recognized with monetary and material rewards, which they can use to further cement their capacity to deliver the much-desired contents of the curriculum and improve future results. For instance, best mathematics teachers can be given mathematics textbooks, calculators or mathematics sets to utilize in helping learners to learn by giving such prizes to the best learners, which then motivate learners to learn for a reward.

Language teachers can be given a set of literature books, science teachers can be given science apparatus, and social science teachers can be given globes or world maps, at least anything that a person can look at as an award other than a certificate alone. Medals can also be one of the awards that can be conferred to the best teachers, with certificates detailing aspects in which the medal is awarded. It is high time that key stakeholders realize that traditional methods of issuing certificates alone is passing on, and teachers should be awarded with contemporary rewards. It is my wish that Grade 12 teachers will be rewarded for their hard work, as is the case with Grade 10 teachers.

In the meantime, may Grade 12 teachers continue to exert their efforts optimally as they seek to meet targets, pending their recognition for hard work by the education authorities.

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