By Frederick Philander
IT is sad and alarming to notice that the country’s 108 teachers’ training college lecturers have stood up for their rights by strategically boycotting classes at a crucial stage and time when student teachers are out on teaching practice at schools as part of their training.
This does not at all auger well for education in general.
This move by the disgruntled lecturers, probably from their perspective, will be more effective than the one-hour boycotts they staged earlier this year after classes. This shows the learned academics mean business to be brought on par with their colleagues at the Polytechnic of Namibia and the University of Namibia, fair?
Yes and no. Taking into account the teachers’ training college lecturers questionably do the same work as their counterparts at tertiary education institutions and are paid a lower salary with probably huge differences in qualifications?
No, because if one looks at the inputs of teachers’ training colleges at present, there exists a marked difference in the outcomes between the two.
This is evident in the end products the colleges deliver yearly. Most of these can hardly speak proper English when they start teaching, let alone teach properly, as can be detected from the regular poor annual results in most Government schools in the country.
I recall that a number of Namibian teachers were sent to Zimbabwean colleges to upgrade their English language skills in a three-year course and goody golly, they are apparently doing much better now?
Maybe it would be a good idea to send the aggrieved lecturers somewhere during the present stalemate between them and the Government to upgrade their own teacher training skills for better outcomes? Should this happen, it surely would justify their legitimate demands for better salaries.
One can only hope that the education authorities, those few that are serious, take serious notice of the worsening situation at the teachers’ colleges and the whole of the education system in the country. The nation and the whole international donor world are watching you with eagle eyes.
Naturally, the Namibian nation expects and demands better and improved education outcomes as a moral duty from teachers, lecturers and everyone else involved in this noble pedagogical career. Maybe corporal punishment should be reintroduced among learners, teachers and lecturers for the sake of progress in the quality of education because right now it is painful to witness the seemingly inevitable and gradual collapse of education in Namibia.
Keep in mind the proverbial expression: time and tide wait for no man. There is lots of work to be done on all fronts in the education system if we are to overcome all the setbacks.