Ironing out Educational Problems

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By Frederick Philander WINDHOEK An urgent and strong plea for greater cooperation among the country’s education institutions was made on Friday at a gala evening at which 150 secondary school principals and guidance teachers gathered in the capital. The one-day meeting, initiated by the University of Namibia (Unam), was the first time that Unam and senior teachers met face to face to iron out problems of a mutual nature and concern. “This gathering, the first of its kind between Unam and secondary school principals, is aimed at an opportunity to share views on very crucial and timely education issues of a common nature. But the overriding aim is to foster greater collaboration between schools and Unam,” said Acting Vice-Chancellor Academic Affairs and Research, Dr Louis Mostert, at the gala evening. She urged her institution and school principals to join forces in tackling pitfalls and threats and to proactively identify opportunities for improvement and development in the education system. “It is extremely encouraging to us at Unam to have this overwhelming representation of secondary schools. It is a rare and precious opportunity to get 150 school principals and guidance teachers at a single time under one roof. This forms part of our commitment to bring the university closer to the people,” Mostert said. The university cannot afford and also does not wish to isolate itself within its campuses and in this way reiterate the perception of universities being ivory towers. “As staff we are serious to work in close collaboration with the government, teachers and principals of Namibian schools. It is only through collective activities, actions and associations that a university can really be successful. Therefore your input to Unam’s activities is important. We are aware of the fact that what happens at schools has an impact on our operations, sometimes directly and at other times indirectly,” she said. Mostert also emphasized the importance of the university to Namibian schools. “Let us strive towards more and better cooperation among our institutions. I believe that after today you’ll have more insight and a better appreciation of the university’s programmes and activities – and that you will share this information with your colleagues and learners at your respective schools. Be assured we are strong enough to handle positive and deserved criticism. No one is perfect, but we are trying to get there,” she promised and expressed the hope that similar meetings be held in future between teachers and Unam.