By Frederick Philander WINDHOEK Teacher education and training programmes this week received a substantial and more than welcome financial injection of N$1,1 million from the United Nations Education and Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO). The Minister of Education, Nangolo Mbumba, on Tuesday signed an agreement to this effect with the local UNESCO representative, Dr. Claudia Harvey. The money is earmarked for capacity building and human resources development for teacher education at the four existing teacher colleges in the country. “A steering committee will be established to put tangible actions in place to ensure that this particular funding be used for the purpose it is meant for. This committee will consist of representatives of all stakeholders in education. “The committee will appoint a coordinator, who will see to it that all projects are implemented in the interest of teacher training in the country,” said Trudie Amulungu, the go-between for the Ministry of Education and UNESCO, when approached for comment. The money, availed for teacher skills training, has been funded by the Japanese government through UNESCO. “The money will not be pumped into the Namibian government machinery, but will be controlled by UNESCO. I expect the training program to become operative within the next three months. “The training of teacher educators in the use and application of information and communication technology to enhance teaching and learning will be the main focus of the program,” Amulungu said. Other main activities to be implemented under the project, include: – the sensitization of teacher educators on the approaches and best practices in Inclusive and Special Needs Education, and to infuse the approaches and best practices in the existing teacher training programmes of the Ministry of Education; – the strengthening of the capacity and competencies of managers of teacher education colleges by providing them with the necessary leadership and managerial skills to oversee effective teaching and learning in the teacher education colleges; – the development of workable strategies to strengthen the teaching of mathematics and sciences at colleges; and, – awareness raising to increase the capacities of the teacher training programmes to deal with the challenges posed by HIV/AIDS at the colleges and the education system in general. The programme , in which NIED, Unam, the Directorate of Sciences in the Ministry of Education and the four teachers colleges will participate in, is expected to start in April.
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