Congenial and dynamic, with a meticulous brain: these are some of the words you may use to describe the ambitious Mathew Tuuta Hango, who always cares for and is always willing to help Namibian youth to be the leaders of tomorrow.
Born 30 years ago at the small rural village of Olambo in Oshikoto Region, where he was also raised, Mathew’s childhood has never been as easy as it seems today, with poverty playing a major role in his life and ironically helping him to become the person he is today.
An Assessment and Certification Coordinator of the Namibia Training Authority (NTA), he is in charge of the administration and management of the Assessment and Certification Coordination Unit of the Valombola Vocational Training Centre is (VVTC). He also spearheads special duties, such as work loading academic staff and timetabling.
Hango grew up in a typical impoverished rural setting looking after cattle and fetching water with buckets on his head, from about five kilometres away from his homestead. As the lastborn in the family of 14, he grew up on the grooming and financial support of his siblings, since his parents were unemployed at the time of his birth.
“I had to run seven kilometres every morning since the age of six to attend my primary school at Oshiyagaya Combined School, where I graduated with a Junior Secondary Certificate in 1997. I was a very obedient and exceptional child at school, so teachers loved me and that earned me a lot of gifts in clothes and sweets from the teachers,” Hango reminisces.
He attended high school at Uukule Senior Secondary School. But although he completed his Grade 12 with flying colours, he could not enrol with tertiary institutions right away due to lack of finances.
“I didn’t have any choice but to join the Namibia Defence Force (NDF) training and served as a soldier for two years. While with the NDF, I enrolled with The Polytechnic of Namibia (PoN) for a Diploma in Accounting and Finance. As finances were still not siding with me, since my NDF salary was very thin, I decided to quit this course and joined the first group of Namibians to train as teachers in Zimbabwe,” he says.
In Zimbabwe, he enrolled at the Belvedere Technical Teachers College (BTTC) of the University of Zimbabwe and specialised in mathematics, mechanics and statistics. An exceptional student he always had been and he soon became a tutor to other Namibian students and graduated from the college with President Mugabe’s award as the Best Namibian Graduate that year.
Upon his return home in 2006 he was appointed at the Nehale Senior Secondary School as a mathematics and science teacher until 2009, when he was transferred to the Uukule Secondary School as a teacher, where he also served as a hostel superintendent.
While teaching there he enrolled for a specialised distance course with the North-West University in South Africa, from which he obtained an honours degree. During his time as teacher, he scooped several national awards, including that of best mathematics teacher nationally.
In 2011, his teaching profession came to an end after the Karas Regional Directorate of Education promoted him to the position of Senior Education Officer but he only stayed there briefly.
“In 2013, I got a scholarship to study Educational Planning and Administration at the National University of Education Planning and Administration (NUEPA) in India for two years. Upon my return from India, I picked up an appointment with Namibia Training Authority (NTA) and was deployed at Valombola Vocational Training Centre as mathematics and engineering science lecturer,” he says.
He advanced steadily through the ranks of the NTA and today works as Assessment and Certification Coordinator. He says although he has been through a lot, his journey is still underway. He wants the youth to work hard to achieve their dreams and says, before anything else, education is the key to a good life.