By Anna Ingwafa
The University of Namibia’s Northern Campus, in partnership with sister institutions Curtin University of Technology in Australia and the University of Pedagogica in Mozambique held an International Mathematics and Science Workshop.
The Minister of Education Nangolo Mbumba officiated at the workshop last week, where he urged participants to make the most out of the exercise.
“It is at forums like this that we can share our research information with others and receive some feedback on how we can improve on our strategies.
By getting in touch with other researchers, we can also generate new ideas for research and embark on possible collaborative activities.
“It is by joining forces that we can increase the quality of our research efforts, while at the same time making available research findings for socio-economic development. Research and development, and innovation, are necessary and the key to the attainment of Vision 2030,” he said.
Mbumba also touched on the recent high Grade 10 failure rate, saying appeals that Grade 10 failures should repeat is not a solution in itself, but there is a need to institute certain programmes.
He urged teachers to double their efforts in teaching and to teach learners how to tackle problems.
Mbumba acknowledged the positive collaboration that is developing between the participative tertiary education institutions, which he said have already started to yield results.
Sharing the same sentiment about Grade 10 results was Oshana Governor Clemens Kashuupulwa. In his statement delivered on his behalf by Oshakati West Councillor Aram Martin, Kashuupulwa noted that last year’s Grade 10 results were received with mixed feelings, with some sections of the population calling for a more concerted effort from all the stakeholders.
He said the workshop took place at the beginning of the academic year so that teachers could devise ways and strategies to bring about improvement that will translate into positive end-of-the year results.
Kashuupulwa also expressed gratitude to the workshop organizers and donors for granting Namibian science educators an opportunity to reflect critically and creatively on the areas that are key to the advancement of science and mathematics education in Namibia.
He urged participants to discuss further research possibilities that may be needed for the regions and how one can coordinate such research projects to ensure that the findings benefit the people of the region.
About 60 mathematic and science teachers from primary and secondary schools, lecturers in mathematics and science at all four teacher training colleges, lecturers from the University of Namibia as well as the Polytechnic of Namibia, and staff from the Ministry of Education attended the workshop.
The workshop was also designed to benefit the country by imparting ways of improving the quality of science, mathematics and technology teaching and learning and educational research in Namibia.
Speaking at the same occasion, the Director of the Unam Northern Campus said the northern campus is partly a research facility. She explained that the campus is a research platform available for the region so that collected findings are coordinated, shared and disseminated to relevant people.
She explained that most of the knowledge that the developing countries have at their disposal are not theirs. “The knowledge we have is downloaded from the Internet and other foreign based resources and taught as it is to our students. Many times such knowledge is not relevant to our environment and will be difficult for our students to apply them when they become professionals.
“We therefore suffer as developing countries from, I must say, contextualized science. A conference like this should be a ,platform to share relevant knowledge for Africa as researched by African scholars.”
The workshop’s theme was “Professional development of Namibia science teachers for cultural sustainability”.