Weaknesses in teaching and learning are said to be the principle causes of learner underperformance in schools.
This was on Monday said by permanent secretary in the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture Sanet Steenkamp, who was speaking at the Khomas Region’s award-winning ceremony to recognise the contributions of individual teachers and schools.
The awards ceremony focused on those achieving excellent results in the Junior Secondary Certificate (JSC), Namibia Senior Certificate (NSCC), Namibia Senior Secondary Certificate Ordinary Level (NSSCO) and Namibia Senior Secondary Certificate Higher Level (NSSCH) external examinations.
Steenkamp said teachers need to get back to the basics of teaching and learning and what happens in classrooms, focusing on the existing knowledge of the child and guiding the child towards new knowledge.
“It is crucial that you look deeply into what obstacles you face at school, especially when it comes to effectively facilitating learning in the classroom. As much as we realised that learners must study hard and give their input, we also know that capacitating our principals and teachers is critical,” Steenkamp said.
She further said when considering explanations for poor academic performance at school level, there has been a tendency to shift the blame from one person to another, instead of rolling up sleeves to solve real problems, such as the state of teaching and learning in school.
“Being an educator requires an extraordinary sense of responsibility to ourselves, first and foremost, and to the learners entrusted to us. There is no doubt that these learners lives will be affected for better or worse by the good or ill of your actions.”
In praise of Namibian teachers Steenkamp acknowledged those teachers who are not afraid to praise learners and those learners who are not frightened by success. She said the ceremony should serve as an inspiration to others, as through such achievements people are able to see the skills, high expectations and commitment of staff and teachers.
Steenkamp urged teachers to reflect critically and systematically on teaching practice and where needed to use the expertise and knowledge of their colleagues – be it the more experienced teachers or newly appointed teachers – to upgrade their teaching in the classroom.
“You have what it takes. We have guts, we have knowledge, we have the expertise and we have the right spirit. No doubt about it. Be honest in your reflections, as it can only lead to increased growth.” she said.
Also addressing the teachers at the ceremony, Khomas Regional Governor Laura McLeod Katjirua thanked the teachers for their hard work, which she said contributes to the development of the country.
Governor Katjirua commended the teachers for the commitment they have shown in improving learners’ education.
“There are still caring and nurturing educators, who manage to produce credible results and there are dedicated servants who find strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.
“The learners you produce today as teachers have a bigger challenge of adapting to a knowledge-based economy than in past years,” she said, noting that the teachers will impact forever in the lives of their students.
Recognising their determination to produce excellent results, the governor also called on teachers to align their goals to the Harambee Prosperity Plan.
The awards aim to recognise academic and teaching staff that are making a significant contribution to excellence in teaching, both in private and public schools.
Delta Secondary School was recognised as the best public school in the Khomas Region and St Paul’s College as the best private school in the region following their exceptional results in the 2014/15 academic period.