By Dr Sarala Krishnamurthy
The Namibian English Teachers’ Association (NETA) was launched at the Polytechnic of Namibia last year to bring together all stakeholders interested in English Language teaching and other related issues.
Last weekend NETA had a mini-conference and workshop where about 65 teachers participated.
“I believe that the theme of the conference will generate meaningful discussions around issues that concern all teachers and teachers can contribute to discussions through constructing different perspectives of a phenomenon,” said the deputy minister of education, Dr. Becky Ndjoze-Ojo, the keynote speaker of the conference. She urged the teachers to contribute meaningfully to NETA for their own professional growth.
In welcoming the participants the Rector of the Polytechnic of Namibia, Dr. Tjama Tjivikua, emphasised the importance of English and the mother tongue in developing literacy skills of students and urged all teachers to make use of the opportunity provided to them through NETA for self-development.
NETA generated a lot of interest and it has grown from strength to strength and the membership stands at a 100 now. In September 2007, teachers from different parts of Namibia like Swakopmund, Gobabis, Karibib, Walvis Bay and Windhoek attended the second workshop that was conducted.
NETA has also been invited to join TESOL, a US-based organisation that brings together experts in the field of English Language Teaching and Research in Bilingual and Multilingual education. This year, 20 NETA members had the opportunity to apply for TESOL scholarships to go to US to do their Masters. Some of them have been given admission in prestigious schools in US and will return home at the end of the month.
This year NETA has been invited to join the UK-based IATEFL the International Association for Teaching English as a Foreign Language.
NETA provides a range of quality activities for teachers of English such as: Regular teacher development activities and opportunities in Windhoek and other parts of the country. Support and guidance to committed educators, who want to take up action research projects on school and tertiary education.
The organization holds monthly talks, discussions and video clippings on a variety of educational issues. A Teacher’s Newsletter – a vibrant forum that will communicate what’s best and what’s worst in educational practice in our country, carry interviews with renowned educators and showcase original research done in the field of English education. Annual seminars, workshops and conferences on a national and international level.
It is important for English teachers in Namibia to come together to share common ideas and improve the standard of their teaching. Many teachers are not properly trained to teach English, and therefore NETA will help improve their English teaching skills. The association is not a political teachers’ union, but was founded to improve the professional development of English teachers through research and analysis.