By Frederick Philander
The readmission or not of Grade 10s countrywide has caused a lot of uncertainty and confusion among schools as well as teachers.
This confusion was created with the announcements that Grade 10 repeaters can return to formal education, the Teachers Union of Namibia (TUN) claimed during a press conference on Thursday.
“In TUN’s opinion the College of Open Learning (Namcol) was established mainly for the purpose of grades 10 and 12 learners who did not make it in the mainstream education system. To this end some reservations have been expressed by the same social sectors that have launched attacks on the Government, which has expectantly applied its usual ignorant attitude to the issue,” said the president of the TUN, Gert Jansen. According to him schools have been flooded by Grade 10s and the issue is still unfolding in various schools countrywide.
“It is our contention that Government in conjunction with the nation should adopt a policy that will solve the Grade 10 problem in the long run, rather than coming up with unplanned actions, which will affect innocent teachers and learners negatively. For now, we propose the status quo to be maintained and to give enough time for the preparation of this policy review,” he said.
He said: “The long-term solution policy for Grade 10 has to be accompanied by building schools, additional classrooms, recruiting additional teachers, and restricting and reviewing the whole basic education curriculum, to include technical subjects and agriculture at elementary level, an idea which has been debated by the nation and its progressive sectors.”
It is high time for us as a nation to become serious and be guided by set policies and proper planning.
“We should not be guided by individuals’ feelings, which have resulted in programmes to be changed haphazardly. Educational structures like the Namibia Advisory Council on Education (NACE), regional education forms and other stakeholders should be included in the whole process,” Jansen said.
He also expressed his union’s shock and dismay about the plans of the Government to establish a media council to allegedly control the media and to deal with public complaints and concerns.
“TUN supports a media council on the grounds that it must not be in contravention of the Declaration of Principals on Freedom of Expression in Africa by the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights. We therefore call on Government to encourage the creation of a self-regulatory mechanism for the Namibian media without dictating to the media,” he said.
TUN has also taken note of the flooding in the northern regions and the threat prevailing in Mariental.
“Compliments to the International Red Cross, Government and the private sector for initiating support for victims in those regions. TUN calls public servants, teachers and the country at large to be part of the exercise. We request the authority of water affairs to examine the situation at Hardap Dam in the Hardap Region carefully and put preventative measures in place to prevent any flooding in that area,” he concluded.