By Anna Ingwafa
Five hundred and fifty-four student teachers, who underwent three to four years Basic Teachers Diploma Programme training at Ongwediva College of Education, last Friday graduated under the theme: “Education and Training Sector Improvement Programme (ETSIP): A Pragmatic Approach for the Realization of Vision 2030”, at the Ongwediva Trade Fair.
It marks the fourth pre-service and in-service joint graduation ceremony between the college and the National Institute for Education Development.
Rector of Ongwediva College of Education Fredrika Uahengo called on the graduates to make the best of the teaching profession and that they should not see the Basic Education Teacher Diploma as a terminal teaching qualification.
“You should genuinely see yourselves as professionals, who are never perfect, thus the necessity for continuous self-renewal and growth by reading widely, getting involved in gainful discussions, attending seminars, workshops and conferences or furthering your studies to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree in Education and even higher.
“The mastery and use of computers and other information communication technology (ICT) gadgets are inevitable for teachers in today’s world, if we want to remain confident and current in our profession,” said Uahengo.
She noted that parents rely on teachers to ensure a bright future for their children and that the Government also relies upon them to explain the socio-economic and political programmes to the people at the grassroots.
Uahengo advised the teachers to guard against temporary pressures.
“Remember that it is not everything that glitters that is gold. Never allow yourselves to be distracted from your goals or jobs prematurely.”
She reminded them of AIDS that it is the leading cause of death in Namibia, depleting the country’s human resources and professionals.
She called on them to be of high morals, exemplary and be like mirrors to the society in all their actions and deeds.
As per government policy on inclusive education, Uahengo assured that the doors of the college are open to students who are either physically or visually challenged. On Friday three totally blind and four partially sighted students graduated.
She made a call on the people to encourage disabled members of the society who have obtained Grade 12 certificates to apply for admission.
At the same occasion, Under Secretary for Formal Education Alfred Ilukena on behalf of the Ministry of Education congratulated the graduates and reminded them that their professional journey has just begun.
“Welcome to the mother of professions and we look forward to your professional input, diligence, hard work, dedication and commitment to high quality of services to the Namibian people.”
Ilukena said that the Ministry of Education has the primary role to ensure that schools function efficiently, guided by a clear vision, a clear sense of direction and an articulated mission.
He noted that every Namibian is a key in implementing ETSIP and the vigilance of its staff, so that it can go a long way in improving the education system and maintain world-class performance.
He said the system is geared towards assisting Namibians to play a more meaningful role in the ongoing globalization of the world economy, which has become increasingly complex and competitive.
“The key to success of every nation is the continuous education and development of its human mind. Namibia’s Vision 2030 and ETSIP both recognized education as the engine of economic growth, the key to prosperity and social development; hence the need to prepare Namibians for the transition from an agro-based economy that will see it through the 21st century,” said Ilukena.
Ilukena added that ETSIP puts more emphasis on improving the quality of the delivery of education through standards, performance indicators, accountability and increased school effectiveness.
It aims at developing in children and young people a sense of self-worth, educating towards social responsibility and being a part of the community’s moral dimension, educating for personal responsibility and high ethical code, and for positive attitudes of tolerance and social
He encouraged the local education institutions and society as a whole to look at education as an inspiration which makes one to look to the future with confidence based on a heritage and tradition of being in a safe and caring school environment where learners are focused on excellence and personal accomplishment.
“There is no great secret to becoming a successful citizen through a simple act of putting others ahead of you. This can help you to transcend most of the barriers to achievement that one may encounter on the road to success”.
He added that during the ETSIP implementation, schools are expected to provide each learner with a wide-ranging choice of educational opportunity, reflecting the values and nature of the country.
The under secretary noted that Namibian society, particularly learners and youth, must realize that success is based on high performance. They should stop waiting for knowledge and they should go out there and seek knowledge.
Ilukena mentioned that in the ministry’s reflection it becomes clear that there is a need to improve the conditions for teaching and learning, especially in the rural areas in order to improve the quality of educational outcomes, particularly in critical areas such as Mathematics, Science and English which according to Ilukena may partly be achieved by more in-service training and support to teachers to acquire relevant competencies for effective teaching.
He said a number of studies commissioned as a part of the comprehensive review of education revealed profound shortcomings in the system, including “issues of efficiency of resource allocation and expenditure, lack of textbooks, accountability and many others. The ministry had to examine the performance of our economy to establish whether our education system in its current form is indeed rising to these challenges.
“Using Vision 2030 as the bench mark for any sustained planning and programming of the improvement in the system, the ministry recognized the need for a dramatic improvement of its overall national educational system strategy in keeping with very ambitious targets set by Vision 2030 in which by 2030, Namibia should join the ranks of high-income countries that afford all their citizens the quality of life that is comparable to that of the developed world.”
Ilukena announced that the programme also includes the expansion of senior secondary education which includes the diversification of deli-very modes.
Equally, the expansion of senior secondary education is linked to the expansion of tech-nical vocational education and training (TVET).
He emphasized that vocational education is crucial. During the ETSIP implementation, the emphasis is being placed on designing credible vocational training centres (VTCs), a curriculum which recognizes the current fields of skill shortages as well as advocacy among employers and the public on the importance of vocational qualifications to the economy.