By Frederick Philander WINDHOEK She considers the newly inaugurated Advisory Council for Teachers Education and Training as an invaluable key if the government’s ETSIP programme is to be effectively implemented. This is the view of the Deputy Minister of Education, Dr Becky Ndjoze-Ojo, who ceremonially introduced the ten members of the council to the press on Wednesday. “We in the Ministry of Education thought it wise and necessary to come up with the establishment of this coalition of professionals to form the Advisory Council for Teachers Education and thereby provide a platform that will deliberate on critical issues and advise the Minister of Education on how best to deal with teachers,” said Dr Ndjoze-Ojo with emphasis. A Swedish teacher education expert, a guest that was especially flown in, also shared his country’s transformation to a better education system. “The newly appointed members of this council are well qualified and most of them are well positioned by virtue of them having been drawn from our institutions such as NIED, UNAM, colleges of education, the Directorate of Higher Education and teacher trade unions. I have no doubt that the ten members will perform a formidable council that will steer the teachers colleges to new heights,” said the deputy minister. According to her the country needs well-qualified teachers. “These teachers will lay the foundation for a strong education system and I believe and trust that through the guidance of the council this foundation can be effectively laid. Thus, be visionary and dedicated to drive the Namibian teacher education to new heights. Quality enhancement must be your guiding principle. As a country we cannot allow the standards of teacher training to go down nor can we allow the curricula that produce lower standard teachers,” she said. Dr Ndjoze-Ojo also paid fitting tribute and homage to the late first Speaker of the National Assembly, Dr MosÃƒÆ’Ã†’Ãƒâ€ ‘ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Â ‘ÃƒÆ’Ã†”Ã…Â¡ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â© Tjitendero, who was endorsed by the Cabinet to be the first chairperson of the council. In her view teachers must work hard to ensure that the education system’s curricula are responsive to the needs of the country and its people. Swedish teacher and education expert, Dr Clas-Uno Frykholm, emphasised the fact that Namibia needs a strong teacher training programme like their Swedish counterparts. “In my country we have decentralized education and made education institutions more autonomous with resultant more effective outcomes. This was necessary because of perpetual conflicts between educational institutions and central government. Government is there to determine policy and institutions are supposed to implement such policies. The system has been working well,” said Dr Frykholm. He cited a number of conditions for decentralizing education. “The goals and objectives of education have to be very clear. There has to be an instrument to assure quality education on local level as well as on national level. Granted there exists huge differences between education institutions, making things very difficult. However, a teacher council like this, will always be needed,” he said.
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