8 February 2018

Namibia: Oshikoto Launches Reading Pilot Study

Omuthiya — The directorate of education in Oshikoto region has launched a pilot study themed Read Café project which aims at enhancing the culture of reading among learners.

This is one step closer to addressing the widely held perception of Namibia not having a reading culture, which in turn causes a high failure rate among learners.

The project will run until April next year for the first evaluation, and the initial period will be 2020, while its continuation beyond the target will depend on the progress to be made during its phase implementation.

Three schools, Omuthiya Iipundi, Opawa and Hans Daniel Namuhuja Senior Secondary were selected for this purpose.

The study was launched in conjunction with the Hedmark County Council in Norway, which will be providing material such as books. The project was born last year when a Norwegian delegation visited the region to strengthen bilateral relations entered into in 2015, where it was agreed that they will work in areas of local economic development, small and medium enterprises (SMEs), agriculture and library development.

"The Read Café project will be piloted with the Grade 9 learners. Mutual support is needed in creating an environment under which this is to take place. The teachers and learners of other grades will be the witnesses and mentors of the Grade 9s in terms of observing the progress of their studies, behaviour and attitude exercised in the year," said the director of education Lamek Kafidi in a speech read on his behalf by Elizabeth Mwaala, the deputy director of life long learning.

"The teacher and librarian partnership would be realised more, and the benefits of basic information literacy skills will be instilled in the minds of our learners. The practice will be strengthened by closely doing follow-ups on the outcome of the knowledge and skills acquired through reading as opposed to the existing culture of literacy education whereby learners visit the library alone with less follow-ups," said Kafidi at the launch of the project at Iipundi in Omuthiya.

Speaking at the same occasion, the school principal, Thomas Uupindi, said classroom-based instruction alone is not adequate for the learning needs of today.

"Libraries and librarians trained to understand, virtualise and manage the information environments are uniquely and strategically positioned to provide structured learning opportunities outside the classroom."

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