There is a severe shortage of qualified primary school teachers in the Omaheke Region, a situation that obliged the directorate of education in that region to recruit close to 200 unqualified people to fill the gap, Omaheke Directorate of Education revealed last week.
The number of unqualified teachers with only Grade 12 in the Omaheke Region stood at close to 160 last week, out of nearly of the 720 teachers in the region. The director of education in Omaheke Region, Pecka Semba, told New Era that from the statistics available to the directorate, the region has 159 unqualified teachers, of which the majority are in the pre-primary and lower primary phases.
He said to the enormity or the area and the remoteness of schools in the region have made it very difficult – if not impossible – to attract qualified personnel. “Several incentives, such as the remote school allowance, have failed to attract adequately qualified teachers to remote schools,” he said.
“This means our region is in need of 159 qualified teachers and the struggle still continues to attract qualified teachers to our schools,” he added.
According to Semba the region partnered with the Rossing Foundation’s subject experts in science subjects and mathematics and lower primary (especially the teaching of phonetics) in schools, like Gustav Kandjii Senior Secondary School, Usiel Ndjavera Primary School, Christoph Ngatjizeko Primary School, Rietquelle JSS, Chief Hosea Kutako Primary School, Mokaleng Combined RC School, Epako High School and Wennie Du Plessis Secondary School.
Additionally, he said secondary schools are also going to host holiday classes during the April vacation to teach and revise what was taught during the first term. “Very soon all our primary and secondary school leaners are going to take part in the regional and national science and mathematics fair,” he said, adding that this is done to improve academic outcomes.
Omaheke Region has been one of the worst performing regions over the past three years. In the 2015 Junior Secondary Certificate (JSC) Grade 10 examinations Omaheke dropped two places (from ninth position to number 11). That same year Omaheke made the most progress in the Namibia Senior Secondary Certificate (NSSC) Ordinary Level results for full-time and part-time candidates – moving up six places (from 12th position to sixth place).
In the past the shortage of teachers was blamed for the poor performance. Earlier this year the Teachers’ Union of Namibia (TUN) also attributed the high failure rate among Grade 12 learners to the perennial shortage of qualified teachers at schools.
TUN secretary general Mahongora Kavihuha said at the time the shortage of teachers should be squarely blamed on government for not coming up with a solution to the problem that crops up every year. Kavihuha advised the education ministry to start recruiting unemployed university graduates across the country into permanent teaching positions.
“For instance, graduates in the financial sectors can be employed in a permanent position as teachers and then he or she can go through teacher training,” he explained.