Challenge for Business Sector

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By Frederick Philander WINDHOEK The private business sector has been urgently requested to pragmatically get involved in helping to relieve the dire shortage of school classrooms nation wide. This urgent appeal is one of a number of resolutions taken on Wednesday during an emergency meeting of the Namibia National Students Organisation (NANSO) at the Multi-purpose Youth Centre in Katutura. Representatives of 12 secondary schools, all affiliated to the student body, unanimously endorsed several resolutions that will be formally handed next week to the Prime Minister and the Minister of Education as proof of student displeasure and concern with the education system. “We had a make or break meeting on Wednesday with our members out of concern for the worsening education situation in the country. The meeting resolved that the private sector, in view of the fact that it maximally benefits on a perpetual basis from the education system through trade and business dealings in textbooks, school uniforms and other teaching aids, should start to finance classrooms at schools which experience the most accommodation problems,” said Neville Andre, the Secretary General of NANSO, who chaired the meeting. “It is obvious that the Namibian government cannot go it alone in the provision of classroom accommodation to most of its schools. The business sector should thus put its money where its mouth is to bring relief to the struggling education sector. One classroom per selected school per year would suffice. This would bring huge relief on the accommodation problem in the country,” he said hopefully. According to Andre, the meeting expressed its profound displeasure at the ineffectiveness of the education system pertaining to the yearly weak Grade 10 results on a national level. “In our assessment of the Grade 10 results, we came to the conclusion that learners have not had the right learning and academic foundation from Grade 1. This we see as one of the biggest problems in the education system. It has to be rectified as a matter of urgency. The lack of discipline at most schools is really a big concern for NANSO and all its members,” Andre, who cited Jan Mohr Secondary School as a role model for true and proper school discipline, said. He urged learner bodies at all schools to confer and consult more with one another to seriously help address the discipline problem in most Namibian schools. “Closer ties with one another can serve as a way of resolving the discipline problem and enhance the learning process in schools. We also intend to consult more closely with the existing two teachers’ unions to find ways and means to assist teachers in maintaining discipline in schools and help them to be more effective in their jobs,” Neville said. Representatives of the following secondary schools attended Wednesday’s NANSO emergency meeting on the “chaotic educational situation” in the country: Jan Jonker Afrikaner, Delta Secondary, Concordia, Windhoek High, Augus-tinium, Hoer Tegniese Skool, Shifidi, Dawid Bezuiden-hout, Jan Mohr and Saint Taurus Secondary. On Tuesday, NANSO’s president Mandela Kapere, in a press statement accused the Ministry of Education of shying away from the real problems in the education sector. “In our view, the biggest obstacle to our continued growth in the education sector has to do with our inability to state the problems experienced as they are. We seriously doubt whether the education policy is being implemented with the necessary due consideration and remedial care, something that has been grossly neglected in the past and present education systems,” Kapere claimed. He contended that NANSO sees the many failures in Grade 10 as casualties of an education system that is unable to respond to their academic needs. “As a student interest group, we are compelled to identify shortcomings in government policy and programmes that adversely effect the education and skills development of our membership. The yearly circus of finding schools for thousands of Grade 1s, 8s and 11s is the most visible depressant of current practice in the education sector,” the NANSO official charged.

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