Zim-Trained Teachers Ready for Work

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By Frederick Philander WINDHOEK All Namibian graduate teachers who completed a three-year teachers diploma course in Zimbabwe will be duly employed and deployed in all the education regions of the country. A total of 83 student teachers last week completed their studies in neighbouring Zimbabwe and will take up posts within the Ministry of Education with the reopening of the school term next month. They attended a teachers course in Zimbabwe under the SADC Protocol on Education and Training. “The Namibian government has sent these graduate teachers specifically for formal training at a college in Harare for the teaching of mathematics, science, agriculture and English subjects in Namibian schools. We are very happy with their achievements and look forward to have them taking up posts within the ministry of Education,” said the minister of Education when he yesterday officially opened a two-day national conference on the National Professional Standards for Teachers in Namibia in the capital. According to the minister, the country currently has about 28 000 teachers and the new graduates would help solve the shortages. The conference is being held under the auspices of the National Qualifications Authority in efforts to finalize teaching standards in the country. President Robert Mugabe last week officiated at the graduation ceremony of the Namibian students at the Belvedere Technical Teachers’ College. “The graduation of the first crop of Namibian teachers serves as an important example, as it vividly shows the region and the whole world what could be achieved through cooperation. The Zim-Nam Teacher Education Programme is fulfilling one of the objectives of the SADC Protocol on Education and Training,” Sarah Tikiwa of the Sunday Mail quoted Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe, “We decided to send the Namibian student teachers to Zimbabwe because that country only had one colonial language to cope with and only has Shona and Ndebele to contend with English. We in Namibia have a historic colonial baggage of German and Afrikaans and many indigenous languages. Zimbabwe has a stronger English background that is why we saw it fit to send the students there to polish their English-speaking skills,” the minister said. “These newly graduated teachers will take up leadership roles in Namibian schools and will not be a threat to the positions of principals and other senior positions at schools. They should be assisted and allowed to plough into our education system what they have learned in Zimbabwe,” said Mbumba during question time. In his official speech to the conference, Mbumba encouraged the participants that the ministry is moving another important supporting beam, in the framework for quality in education, closer to being raised into proper position. “An important focus of the government and of the ministry of Education is the ongoing improvement of education programmes that develop good teachers for the schools and our children. Our attention is on improving the availability and effectiveness of courses that also support the ongoing professional development of those teachers currently in service,” Mbumba said. In his view Namibian teachers are doing a good job in preparing the youth for the future and for the prosperity of the nation. “However, as with all other professions, there is always a need and desire to do better. Just as we urge our children to strive for excellent scholastic and academic performance, so should we adults serve as guides and role models to our youth. “The availability of national and professional standards for teachers in Namibia will clearly outline the nation’s expectations of what new and existing teachers must know and be able to do in the classrooms and in communities in which they work and serve,” the minister moralized. Namibia needs more and better-equipped teachers who are able to perform from their first day in the classroom. “The professional standards for teachers to be finalized during this conference must be put into practice. I will expect the colleges of education and other providers of teachers’ education programmes to take these standards and revise their curricula in terms of coverage and methodology to ensure that teachers emerging from these institutions are ready for the classroom. No one in education should be scared of the existence of standards to guide service delivery that offer customers, the learners in schools, assurances.”

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