By William J.Mbangula ENGUWANTALE The Directorate of Education in Oshana Region last Friday honoured its best performing teachers, learners, schools and education circuits. Present at the event were members of the business community, traditional leaders, councillors of the regional and local authorities and members of the community from Ompundja constituency. The gala event, sponsored by various business institutions and individuals, was held at Engu-wantale Combined School as a token of appreciation to the school after being rated as the most improved in the region last year. Enguwantale Combined School has been performing poorly since 1999. Director of Education for the Oshana Region, Dutte Shinyemba, said the aim of the ceremony was to motivate and inspire teachers, learners and parents for their good performance in 2005 and to encourage schools to share new learning techniques and successes. The success, she explained, was achieved through hard work, commitment and dedication towards teaching and learning. Shinyemba said the secret of success was vested in the teacher service delivery, learners’ acceptance and parents’ support for schools. In her view, the majority of the schools that received the awards were those that had gone an extra mile in teaching and learning, schools that had principals and teachers who had dreams and made them realised, and those that sacrificed their leisure time to assist learners in reaching their potential. With regard to the parents, the director of education noted that even though they always dreamt for their children to excel, they had to provide relentless efforts and assistance in support of teachers and learners. This does not occur in the majority of schools in the region. Some parents apparently distance themselves from schools while some schools have closed-door policies towards their communities. “I therefore request our school board members and parents to see to it that teachers are really teaching but not cheating learners by giving them sub-standard education while receiving salaries not worth their work. The January song of ‘failing and sending’ children into the streets can only be defeated if each of us takes responsibility by ensuring that teaching and learning is taking place.” According to Shinyemba, it had come to light during her panel inspections at various schools in the region that the majority of teachers do not do preparations. As a result, they give less work to learners and only in some cases is learners’ work marked. Subsequently, the education authorities will come up with a strategy on how to deal with “unwilling and unable” teachers. “For the learners, the second term has 66 school days and the time we waste never comes back. I urge you to use each hour and each minute effectively. You should dedicate your time to your studies and go to examination halls well-prepared enthusiastically, and in good spirits,” she said. The Governor of Oshana Region Clemens Kashuupulwa said while there are some teachers who are doing good work, there are those doing poor work. This showed that they are either lazy or lack classroom management skills. “The lazy and non-performing teachers who one can call deadwood, I would like to tell them that they are not welcome on the establishment of our schools because they will corrupt the system. They should either change their attitudes or the government will have to get rid of them. We cannot afford to keep deadwood because the reason why many learners fail in our schools is because of these uncaring teachers. The Government spends a lot of money on their salaries but yet we do not get the value for the money paid to them.” The Governor noted that despite noticeable improvement, there is still a lot to be done. Many learners are still going to Namcol if not into the streets to join the swelling army of unemployed and dropouts. This situation, said the Governor, requires all stakeholders to ask themselves why the learners are poorly performing. “It is high time that the managers in education at different management levels ponder upon this situation and really find out, if not yet known, as to why many learners are not doing well in their studies. School managers, school boards, teachers and communities at large have to ensure that the education provided to learners is of good quality since quality is one of the broad goals of the Ministry of Education.’ According to the Governor, quality assurance lies in school principals’ abilities and capabilities to supervise and assist teachers when they need support. School principals whose schools did badly in the 2005 Grade 10 examination should improve their supervision and monitoring of teaching and learning. They should be able to evaluate and appraise their teachers’ work or else their schools will experience another tragedy this year. ” At this juncture let me take this opportunity to congratulate those teachers and learners and inspectors who are receiving prizes and awards today as recognition for their extra-ordinary care for their learners. Teaching is a noble profession, which needs committed and dedicated cadres like you. As a teacher by profession, I know that teachers of your calibre spend a lot of time motivating your learners. Your commitment and dedication to the schoolwork provides a benchmark of exemplary teachers and learners.” Grade 10 examination results in Oshana Region since 1999 have shown a bit of improvement although authorities believe there is still a room for improvement. In 1999, Oshana Region gained 39,2 % of Grade 10 learners promoted to Grade 11, which compares favourably to the statistics of 2004-2005 with 45.5 % promoted to Grade 11. In the year 2004 the region was ranked the seventh in the country while last year it was rated 6th. At the prize-giving and awards ceremony at Enguwan-tale, honours were bestowed in various categories, namely to schools, circuits, teachers and learners in the form of trophies, medals, items and cash. Some of the prizes and awards were given as follows: – Best school in Mathematics – Enguwantale Combined School – Best School in Life Science – Omusheshe Combined School – Best School in Geography – Ondjora Combined School – Best School in Agriculture – Omusheshe Combined School – Best School in Physical Science – Erundu Combined School – Best School in Junior Secondary Oshikwanyama – Onamutai Combined School – Most improved school in Mathematics – Omusimboti Combined School – Most improved school in the region- Enguwantale Combined School – Best School n Junior Secondary English – Erundu Combined School – Best Junior Secondary Circuit – the trophy left Oshakati Circuit for the first time in more than ten years to Eheke Circuit. – Best Junior Secondary school – Erundu Combined School – Best Junior Secondary teacher in English – I. Brinkman from Erundu Combined School – Best Junior Secondary Teacher of the year in Mathematics/Physical Science – Hilja Shikongo from Enguwantale Combined School. – Best Senior Secondary School in Junior Secondary Mathematics – Andimba Toivo Ya Toivo – All Best HIGCSE /IGCSE awards in Mathematics/Science, best school in Oshikwanyama/Oshindonga and best English teacher went to Mweshipandeka Senior Secondary School, because there has never been a competitor against Mweshipan-deka since it is the only school providing the HIGCSE system in the region.