Education is suffering from narration sickness


At hand is a deep-rooted fatuous notion among Namibians that obtaining a university degree equals future economic success. Growing up I was taught, like most Namibian children, that the key to success in life is to do well in high school, which in turn will guarantee me acceptance to university. We were further programed that a degree renders you any type of job you desire in the discipline of your choice. As a result, children grow up believing university is the exclusive passport to their future. This type of thinking is counter-productive.

The high school industrial complex is built in such a way that it only prepares learners for university and not the real world. We need a different approach. Educators should manipulate the system, threaten the status quo in the mainstream of their work, think out of the box and use creative techniques to prepare students for life. At school you are bombarded with worthless information that will never help you have successful careers. Which high school in Namibia gives grounding in the knowledge necessary to solve problems? Invent and create their own product?

We are being given inconvenient truths in school which go by completely unchallenged, in science, arts and mathematics classes. Education filled with holes and mistruths. Because of the government controlled education syllabus children are taught to only focus on the facts, figures and numbers.

The narration sickness at school is an inconceivable melancholy. Children are sent to school and moulded into public approved homogenous teenagers that cannot think outside the prescribed consensus. Children are taught to repeat information instead of how to think.

This education system does not liberate, instead it crushes children’s genius – tells our teenagers the ability to remember and repeat is intelligence, promotes conformity intellectually and socially, and that truth comes from authority. After blindly accepting and regurgitating this information on command, those children go on to become the decision-makers in our government, law, medicine, and every other occupation with power and prestige.

Today the teacher-student relationship has deteriorated to appalling levels and is best described by Paulo Freire in the Pedagogy of the Oppressed: ‘Narration leads the student to memorize mechanically the narrated content. Worse still it leads them into containers, into receptacles to be filled by the teacher. The more meekly the receptacles permit themselves to be filled, the better students they are.’ This is the sad reality.

A learner will stand in front of the blackboard and proudly utter: ‘Five times four is twenty; the capital of Erongo is Walvis Bay.’ The student records, memorizes and repeats these phrases without recognizing what five times four really means, or understanding the true significance of ‘capital’ in the affirmation ‘the capital of Erongo is Walvis Bay,’ that is, what Walvis Bay means for Erongo and what Erongo means for Namibia.

The most damaging consequence of being pushed away from holistic thinking with a full brain into a strictly left brain thought is what is known as suppression of the feminine. Every male and female has both feminine and masculine qualities – it has nothing to do with man or woman. These are represented by the left and right brain. Both are vital to our spiritual and physical health.
The advancement of humanity is concurrent with the liberation of the mind; and not epidemic narration sickness in this nation.
TT, Windhoek


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