26 February 2013

Namibia: Boost for Science Education in Karas Region

Windhoek — The Foundation of the country's partially state-owned diamond mining company, Namdeb, and the global mining giant Anglo- American's Namibian Foundation have pumped nearly a million Namibian dollars in the boosting of science education in the Karas Region.

The money went to the procurement of science kits for the upper primary section of schools. The contents of these science kits are applicable for grades 5-7 for all 32 government schools in the region.

The money also bought lockable trolleys for the 32 science kits, the installation of a complete science laboratory that accommodates Life and Physical Science subjects at Schmelenville Combined School in Bethanie, and practical training for all science teachers in the Karas Region that teach the subject on grades 5-7 level to enhance the quality of teaching in the subject. The two foundations spent N$800 000 on the project.

Anglo-American agreed in 2011 to purchase 40 percent of the Oppenheimer family stake in De Beers for US$5.1 billion in cash. The purchase ended the 80-year Oppenheimer family global grip on the global diamond trade. De Beers jointly owns Namdeb with the Namibian government.

The funding of science education is a result of consultations with the Karas Region's education directorate, and the subsequent needs that that were identified during the consultations. Approximately 5 420 grades 5-7 learners will benefit from the donation.

The Ministry of Education is also contributing significantly to the success of the project and has undertaken to re-train all grades 5-7 science teachers on the syllabus and usage of the science kits at the Keetmanshoop Teachers' Resource Centre.

This will enable teachers to improve their teaching skills and develop additional interest in the subject in order to teach the subject with renewed passion. The Anglo-American Namibia Foundation was established in 2008 as a direct result of its operations at Skorpion Zinc and although no longer physically present in Namibia, the foundation still continues to make a real, positive and sustainable difference to the future of disadvantaged communities and people in southern Namibia.

Meanwhile, the Anglo-American Foundation has also donated chairs worth N$50 000 to the Keetmanshoop Senior Secondary School in a bid to encourage the learners to improve their grades at the end of the year. The school performed poorly during the year-end exams last year.

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