THE first batch of 734 student teachers, who took part in a special diploma programme meant for unqualified and underqualified teachers, are expected to graduate this year.
The Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture introduced the Diploma in Junior Primary Education in 2016 to elevate unqualified and underqualified teachers.
The three-year programme also included an in-service training for the teachers. The special diploma programme has 1 938 student teachers registered in year one to year three.
In a statement, the education ministry's public relations officer, Absalom Absalom, said this programme cost the government approximately N$16 million per year, covering administration, tuition, programme delivery, and materials and is expected to end next year.
He added that the second intake (currently in year three) has 572 students, and the third intake (currently in year two) has 537 students. Meanwhile, 95 students were not promoted from the third batch.
The government, in 2016, said it was taking the measure to curb the problem of unqualified and underqualified teachers in the country, especially for Grades 1, 2 and 3.
The regions that had the highest number of unqualified and underqualified teachers are Kavango with 697, followed by Omusati (687) and Ohangwena (549).
Absalom added that in the pre-primary segment, 1 122 teachers were trained nationally for two weeks per group. For Grade 1-3, 8 000 teachers were inducted on the revised curriculum at regional level in six subjects.
"Regional facilitators were trained at national level in 2013 and 2014. In addition to these, the more than 1 900 junior primary teachers who are enrolled in the specially designed upgrading programmes at the University of Namibia are trained on the revised curriculum," he said.
For the senior primary phase, 1 149 regional facilitators were trained at national level during 2015-16 year.
Meanwhile, 19 935 teachers were trained in regions in different subjects.
In the junior secondary sector, 1 900 regional facilitators and teachers for entry subjects (such as Setswana and computer studies) were trained at national level on the revised curriculum.
"A total of 9 735 teachers were trained at regional level. Also, the first group of 22 teachers for re-introduced technical subjects did a skills upgrading training course for two weeks at the Namibia Institute of Mining Technology at Arandis in 2017 and the training programme continues," Absalom added.
Meanwhile, the National Institute for Educational Development trained 595 regional facilitators for the Namibia Senior Secondary Certificate for Ordinary Level (NSSCO), Grade 10-11, including teachers for younger pupil entry subjects. In the regions, 4 232 NSSCO teachers were trained.
A faculty of education research in 28 schools in Namibia report released in 2016 indicated that although access to primary education in Namibia is improving, the quality of education delivery remains a challenge.
A number of issues influencing the low quality of education include low content knowledge by teachers, difficulties with implementing the lower primary literacy and numeracy curriculum, poor knowledge of various teaching and assessment strategies and lack of instructional materials.