8 March 2018

Namibia: Smith Praise On Bantu Education Causes Stir

Windhoek — Remarks by Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) parliamentarian Nico Smit that the Bantu apartheid education system was better than the current education in terms of quality and affordability has infuriated other MPs.

"After 29 years of independence, the education levels have gone from better to worse. It's worse than the former education system, " remarked Smit. He made the remark while contributing to the motion on education tabled by PDM parliamentarian, Elma Dienda.

Smith waxed lyrical praise songs about the apartheid-era Bantu education system saying it was much better than the current education regime in terms of quality.

"It is time to call a spade a spade and admit that the problem lies with poorly trained primary school teachers and specifically junior primary teachers.

Teaching is not just a job that can be done by just anyone, this is highly specialised form of teacher training and it must be clear to us that our children are not being taught adequately in this junior primary education phase and the situation is worsening and not improving," he said.

Smith blamed the Swapo-led government especially the former Minister of Basic Education Nahas Angula for abolishing all pre-primary education schools operated by the government as well as changing the medium of instruction from Afrikaans to English with no regard to whether the teachers could teach adequately in English and in most cases outside the urban areas.

He said government has made a mistake for changing the syllabi for secondary school, stating that teachers were confronted with new syllabi that told them to teach new content but they were not given the necessary text books that provided this new content information.

"For some reason this government has elected to mix politics and education to further its own cause and doing so they have ruined the lives of three generations of our children because they have been unwilling to bite the bullet and take the hard decisions that could fix what is wrong with our education today," said the PDM parliamentarian.

Responding to his remarks, Minister of Justice Sacky Shanghala said it was unparliamentary to praise the former Bantu education system that only benefited the white community.

Critics of Bantu education have in the past argued it was aimed at crippling the intellectual development of black Namibians because they were discouraged from taking mathematics and science subjects among other anomalies.

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