By Petronella Sibeene WINDHOEK The Namibia Qualifications Authority (NQA) has announced the completion of draft standards for teaching and now it wants contributions from interested parties before full implementation takes place. Though the education sector has in the past 15 years made progress in educating the Namibian masses, one of the shortcomings experienced countrywide is that many children do not under the current standards seem to gain the basic skill of functional literacy. Based on that, the NQA commissioned the development of standards for the teaching profession in Namibia. The Director of the NQA Franz Gertze recently announced that the standards are developed in three phases. The professional standards for teachers cover a matrix of competencies for primary and secondary teachers in Namibia. The other standards touch on support material for Pre-service Teacher Education Programmes, comprising among others a set of assessment guidelines relevant to the qualifications and unit standards for use by providers of teacher pre-service education programmes. The in-service teacher education programmes look at a set of guidelines relevant to qualifications and unit standards where appropriate for use by providers and teacher in-service education pro-grammes. The national standards for teachers in Namibia are a direct outcome of the Education Training Sector Improvement Programme (ETSIP). Under this programme, relevant stakeholders in the education sector have come to know what is working and what is not. The draft shows that progress towards equity in education has not been rapid enough and at the current level of performance in education will not produce citizens who are capable of making Namibia a knowledge-based economy as is expected if the nation has to attain the stipulations of Vision 2030. Education and training in Namibia is at a turning point. “We must turn the system around and bring about big improvements. Namibia never before had such a detailed, complex and broad-based plan of action for education,” the draft further reveals. Though education systems are always difficult to change, the time has come for ETSIP to be implemented with energy and for the effects to be felt on the ground. While the NQA invites the multiplicity of role-players and stakeholders in education and training to comment on the draft for adoption, members of the National Standard Setting Body (NSSB) will be visiting the main towns in the regions introducing the draft and soliciting for comments in areas that might need improvement. Gertze urged, “Role-players and interest holders in education are requested to approach the regional directors of education for the venues on the dates as specified.” The NQA was established in terms of the Namibia Qualification Authority Act (Act 29 of 1996) and is responsible for, amongst others, the setting of standards for any occupation, job, post or position in any career structure.
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