Education minister calls for parental involvement

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Tuulikki Abraham

Lüderitz-The Minister of Education, Arts and Culture, Katrina Hanse-Himarwa, says parents should pro-actively participate in the affairs of schools regarding the education of their children and not only come to schools when they want to register their children at the beginning of each year.

She said it should be the duty of each and every parent to occasionally get involved in their children’s school – so that they are better informed about what is going on at school and how their children are performing and behaving.

Hanse-Himarwa made the comments on Monday at a parental and community engagement forum in Lüderitz that is part of her two-week parental and community engagement forums to the //Kharas and Hardap regions that started on Monday and will end on March 17.

She explained that the main aims and objectives of the forums are to speak directly to parents and community members on the challenges and possible solutions education faces.

“You would all know that the results for grades 10 and 12 of especially the //Kharas and Hardap regions leave much to be desired. And as a minister the question that lingered in my mind, as Vladimir Lenin put it, was ‘what is to be done to redress this situation?’

What is to be done for this great region to occupy its rightful place in the examination results?” Hanse-Himarwa explained to community members gathered at Lüderitz.

She said one of the initiatives she has undertaken, besides other interventions, is to have such type of engagement with parents of learners. “This is an effort to solicit your views and perspectives on a way forward to improve not only the examination results but the outlook of education in general.”

She reminded parents to follow the education of their children from the first test and to arrange mechanisms to help learners already at the beginning of each year for them to avoid shock, blame and lots of questions during the outcome of grades 10 and 12 results.

President Hage Geingob has declared 2017 as a year of rededication that includes parents, teachers and learners. “It is clear that without dedication, we are doomed,” said the minister.

The home, she noted, is the first school, “therefore the narrative that schools must do everything for the education of children is wrong, as without the involvement of parents there is not much that we in the teaching fraternity can achieve.” Research has shown that learners that are supported by their parents in their school careers actually do much better academically and socially than learners whose parents are minimally involved or not involved at all.

Schools where parents play an active role in school matters and are supportive of the programmes and their children have proven to be successful. Therefore, she called on parents to do their part while the government continues to make substantial investments in education.

“If we don’t work together the investments the government makes in education will be in vain. As a government we do not necessarily have all the solutions to all the problems, thus I am here on a mission that will enable me to get first-hand information from you, the people, with whom we as government have  a social contract,” she said.

“May I hasten to say that this exercise is not a show that I set up just to be seen, but is one where I want to listen to the education challenges our communities face,” she stressed.

She reiterated that the education ministry alone cannot achieve all its ambitious targets without the spirit of volunteerism demonstrated by parents to support teachers in their role to educate and mould young minds into responsible adults.

“Education is a prerequisite for tackling poverty and promoting short and long term economic growth. No country has ever achieved continuous economic growth without at least 40% adults being able to read and write,” she said.

“When we ensure that our children are educated, it will go a long way in ensuring that many households and communities will change for the better. Therefore we should not take the education of our children for granted. The government will spare no effort in providing universal primary and secondary education to all Namibian children. ”

She added that the demands in education are many and diverse. In a nutshell they range from teacher deployment to infrastructure, water and sanitation, school feeding, furniture, textbooks and stationery, she said. “All these demands require energetic and capacitated school boards to monitor and hold us accountable if we falter in any way.”
She urged principals and teachers to make sure they provide quality education to learners. She said teachers who fail in their duties would be replaced.

The minister will be conducting parental engagement forums in the regions.  In //Kharas Region she started in Lüderitz and will continue until March 9 and then do Hardap Region from March 10 – 17.

Parents get opportunities to ask questions and make proposals.

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