By Magreth Nunuhe
WINDHOEK – The former headmaster of Ella Du Plessis High School, Adolf de Klerk, says indiscipline among learners at many high schools in Namibia is one of the biggest “push factors” that drive teachers away from the teaching profession.
“Any teacher who prefers to transfer knowledge and wants to shape his or her learners, in tandem with the requirements of later life and a working career in an atmosphere and state of discipline conducive to such higher goals, cannot last in most of our high schools,” he said at the school’s gala dinner held last Friday.
De Klerk said after visiting some high schools, he questioned how “we could expect results from learners when teachers have thrown in the towel and are instead looking for something else than their chosen careers or hang in there just to pay off my car or my house”.
He said that at some schools there was simply no culture of discipline among learners and teachers alike, and feared that Namibia would go the same route as South Africa where at some schools teaching has become a “safety-risk profession”.
“Our high school results will never become what they should be with the vast investments in education until the discipline situation in our high schools is brought under control. It is obvious that the inculcation of discipline should start at home and be furthered in primary schools,” he added.
De Klerk said the preparation of a child for adulthood is a partnership between the parental home and the school and the two partners should ideally form a close bond of interdependence, but reality is unfortunately much different.
While the school operates within a well-structured situation, the parental home operates in a virtually uncontrolled situation where ground rules are often easily flouted by parents, he said.
“If one looks at the lack of discipline among some of our senior learners, one wonders how much blame for that should be apportioned to parents. Failure to instill good discipline in the parental home is a gross injustice that parents commit against their off-spring,” he said.
He noted that alcoholism is a major factor that directly interferes with the proper rearing of children, and learners enter school without knowing the boundaries of unacceptable behavior.
“This is a very sad state of affairs and definitely no recipe to build a nation. Instead of the parental home being a stronghold of good upbringing, it becomes the first place where children are exposed to violence when drunken fathers beat up mothers in the presence of siblings,” he said.
De Klerk added that social evils, especially gender-based violence, has become such an unspeakable disgrace for the nation that men should bow their heads in shame.