By Catherine Sasman
MultiChoice Namibia has rolled out its DStv education bouquet of eight premium channels to 100 under-resourced schools across the country, with plans to extend this service to 50 more schools every six months.
The channels availed to the schools as part of the broadcaster’s corporate social responsibility are the History Channel, Mindset Learn (a programme promoting English and Mathematics), National Geographic, Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, SABC Africa, BBC World and NBC.
As part of the investment, each of the schools have received a Panasonic 74 cm flat screen television, a Panasonic VCR, ten VCT tapes and a fully installed DStv system with the bouquet. Each installation cost MultiChoice Namibia N$5 000, having spent N$1 million since the conclusion of a memorandum of understanding with the Ministry of Education in August 2005.
Last year, the company also established 32 MultiChoice Resource Centres, and teachers from the carefully selected schools have received specialized training on the use of the equipment as well as how they can incorporate the audio-visual material into the school curriculum.
“I was amazed at the level of their exposure and especially expression on what they have learnt from the DStv educational programmes,” said Kobus Bezuidenhoudt, General Manager of MultiChoice Namibia, after visiting the Kamanjab Combined School in the Kunene Region.
“I was informed by the teachers that before the DStv came to the school the pass rate amongst Grade 10s was about 30 percent. However, with the introduction of DStv the pass rate for Grade 10s reached over 80 percent.”
This school has become one of the three best performers in the Kunene Region.
It was, however, acknowledged that there were a number of other private sector interventions at the school that has contributed to the increase in the pass rate.
Chief System Administrator of the Information Division with the Ministry of Education, Rietha Cocklin, said a major challenge for some far-flung schools is the availability of electricity, though some schools have benefited from a solar power project, while others make use of diesel-powered generations.