Education PS Defends ministry

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By Frederick Philander WINDHOEK In a scathing attack, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Education yesterday accused two nationally known educationalists of spreading false and damaging information about the education system of the country. Vitalis Ankama in a press statement accused the Rector of the Polytechnic of Namibia and the president of the Teachers Union of Namibia (TUN) of not telling the truth in claiming that the government never built a single school and that the Cambridge system was haphazardly implemented. “Dr Tjivikua chose to inform the nation that the Ministry of Education never built a single school since Independence and Gert Jansen stated that the Cambridge system was thrown out of England and that we grabbed it with both hands. Both statements are false and damaging to our country in the light of the fact that people tend to believe high-profile people such as the two educationalists,” said Ankama. He claimed that his ministry has made progress in terms of access to schools and to address the shortages of schools and classrooms. “The ministry has built, extended and intensively renovated many schools nationwide, including urban towns,” Ankama said. According to him his ministry has built 2 218 schools in the Ohangwena and Oshikoto regions and 1 954 classrooms in Omusati and Oshana with the assistance of partners. “At Independence the number of schools in the country stood at 1 325. Today Namibia has 1 632 schools nationwide, an increase of 307 schools and more schools are under construction. Examples of schools built in the Khomas and Erongo regions include Frans Indongo, Michele MacLean, Moses Garoeb, Tobias Hainyeko and Olof Palme primary schools and Hage Geingob, Hochland High and Khomas high secondary schools in the Khomas Region. Major renovations have also been completed,” the statement said. Ankama further challenged the Teachers Union of Namibia to come up with constructive suggestions towards improving the education system in Namibia to everyone’s benefit, as this is the ultimate objective of the Ministry of Education. “The ministry welcomes constructive criticism and indeed acknowledges the weaknesses of the education system in terms of issues of equity, quality and efficiency. Hence the development of the 15-year strategic plan, namely the Education and Training Sector Improvement Programme (ETSIP), which will be continuously improved to align it with emerging needs,” he said.