Pre-primary teachers from Ongwediva and Uukwiyuushona constituencies graduated from the Perivoli Schools Trust in Ongwediva.
The trust was founded by a United Kingdom based individual, James Alexandroff, in April 2012. The programme trains pre-primary teachers countrywide. So far 1700 teachers have graduated from the trust.
Governor of Oshana, Clemens Kashuupulwa, represented by the Councillor of Ongwediva Constituency, Andreas Uutoni, said in his keynote address that he was happy the training was conducted by a non-governmental organisation (NGO). This, he said, was a demonstration that education is a responsibility for all stakeholders and not just the Namibian government.
He further said the aim of the training is to adequately equip the teachers with the necessary skills, knowledge and a good understanding of the developmental stages of a child – be it social, physical or psychological.
He advised graduates to be good navigators and anchors in the lives of the children. Uutoni said the government has prioritised pre-primary education and that all children in Namibia shall be taught by well-rounded teachers.
The councillor also represented the ministry of gender. He said investments in quality care and early education pay off in multiple ways – for children, communities and individuals.
“Although a growing number of policy makers elsewhere realize that the early years are a springboard for future academic and economic success and for reducing poverty, access to good quality early child development is still not widespread and not well appreciated by many,” Uutoni said.
The graduation consisted of female teachers only, as all male students apparently threw in the towel and quit the training programme. Mike Chart the Country Director of Perivoli Schools Trust Training said the training is offered for free and that the graduates are yet to graduate at an advanced level as the graduation was only the first certificate.
Chart noted that the programme is largely about activities and the usage of waste materials to create new user-friendly materials for children to use in classes.
He also urged the government to invest money in pre-primary education, as it is the first and early stage of education and reduces Grade 1 dropouts.