RUNDU – Poor performance nationally in mathematics and science by learners is a result of a lack of content in the now phased-out Basic Education and Teaching Diploma (BETD), which most teachers in the current education system underwent.
This is the view of Kavango Regional Education Director, Alfons Dikuua.
Speaking to New Era yesterday Dikuua said that BETD had more methodology than the content itself, hence the current predicament. “In this case teachers might know how to teach mathematics but they do not really understand or have in-depth knowledge of the subject,” he said.
“Learners at primary schools are not properly moulded to take mathematics at secondary school,” said the director.
Whether there is a need for refresher courses for teachers sitting with BETD qualifications, Dikuua was quick to concur. “Yes there is a need … that is why our government decided to take up the programme of sending Namibian students to Zimbabwe so that they can get training in mathematics and science,” said Dikuua.
Mathematics is about an attitude of learner or teacher towards the subject, noted Dikuua, admitting that the subject remains a problem for many learners and teachers.
The University of Namibia in 2012 phased out the BETD programme.
The phasing out was necessitated by the incorporation of teachers training colleges in the country into the University of Namibia (Unam).
Dikuua also pointed out that not all schools in the region have qualified mathematics and science teachers. “One thing we should do as teachers, if you are a teacher, and there is a certain topic that you do not understand, say for instance algebra, make time to go and learn from your colleague if you have a colleague who understands it better than you – it is all about capacity building,” advised Dikuua.
Kavango Regional Governor, Ambassador Samuel Mbambo, who was also the Rector of the former Rundu Teacher’s Training College, said he is yet to see the statistics but he does not think blame can be pinned solely on BETD.
“There might be multiple issues that must be looked at, so it will be narrow minded to point out a certain aspect of education instead of looking at the holistic picture. Some schools do better in mathematics and they might have teachers who went through the BETD programme rather than languages,” he said.
“BETD could be one of the causes, but we have to look wider than that since there might be other contributing factors,” Mbambo said, adding that he would first have to look at the statistics.
By Mathias Haufiku