Windhoek – The poor performance in Grade 10 and 12 of schools in the Kunene Region is partly attributed to the fact that most teachers in the region are either unqualified or under-qualified, Angeline Steenkamp, the director of education in that region says.
Kunene Region dropped three places from ninth place in the 2015 Namibia Secondary Certificate (NSSC) to 12th position in last year’s examinations.
“The majority of the teachers in the Kunene Region are not qualified,” Steenkamp said in a telephonic interview, adding that it is an issue the education authorities have to deal with.
She said induction workshops would be held with under-qualified and unqualified teachers and stakeholders to improve on the status quo.
“Kunene is a very rural region. It might be that qualified teachers do not want to come to the region. There are rural areas where there is no network reception, so you can imagine why not so many people would want to work there.
There is a bush allowance for teachers working in remote areas, but it doesn’t even attract the people,” she noted.
Steenkamp also noted that certain schools in Kunene Region performed well. “If one school can perform well with unqualified teachers, so can the others,” she opined, adding that all stakeholders need to pull in one direction to improve the quality of education in the region.
“I’m not satisfied with the performance,” said Steenkamp, who was appointed director of education in Kunene in September last year.
She said she was not part of the previous planning to improve education in the region, but a meeting will take place next week to assess why the region did not perform as hoped. “We will assess what the planned activities were, what was carried out and why we failed. We need to implement our performance agreement and enforce it on a daily basis.
We appreciate those schools that performed well,” said added.
Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture spokesperson Johanna Absalom said the shortage of qualified teachers compelled the ministry to recruit unqualified teachers, but the ministry has a training programme tailor-made for under-qualified and unqualified teachers, she noted.
“Faced with an acute shortage of qualified teachers at junior primary phase, the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture – in collaboration with the Ministry of Higher Education, Training and Innovation and the University of Namibia – is implementing the In-Service Teacher Education Diploma in Junior Primary Education to train unqualified and under-qualified teachers to upgrade their qualifications, and subsequently improve learning input from early grades,” Absalom said.
The programme officially commenced in 2015.
“This initiative aims to empower the serving teachers and provide them with relevant skills to teach at pre-primary level to Grade 3,” she added.