Simataa wants contracts for principals

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Kuzeeko Tjitemisa

Windhoek-The newly-appointed Minister of Information and Communication Technology, Stanley Simataa, has called for a speedy implementation of school principals’ contracts.

Speaking in parliament on Tuesday, Simataa said in his years as a native of the country’s education system, he has seen the performance fortunes of many schools turned around by merely changing the head of the institution.
Simataa, himself a former principal, feels the long-mooted appointment of principals on contracts, whose extension will be contingent on performance, as is the case with all Namibians, must be finalised.

“Persistent fears that have been expressed by teacher unions over the years in terms of this development must be addressed,” he said.

“We must change the current debilitating culture that permeates the civil service that people are entitled to be employed forever, or that we are entitled to our salaries because it is end of the month, regardless of whether we have achieved the expected deliverables,” he added.

“We must resurrect the culture of delivery across the public service! The performance management system presents us with the golden opportunity to do so.”

Simataa was speaking in his contribution to the debate on the motion on the Impact of Under-Resourced Teachers on the Quality of Education.

He said it suffices to state that teachers in the 21st Century, unlike their forebears, should have the dexterity, competencies and confidence to effectively manage the teaching and learning environment by drawing on ubiquitous resources occasioned by the emergence of the digital age.

“For as long as there is connectivity, no teacher, no school and certainly no society should advance the tired argument of lack of teaching and learning resources as an excuse for not performing,” he said
“Let us leverage abundant digital teaching and learning resources to deliver quality educational outcomes,” said Simataa.

Simataa says that with continuous teacher professional development as recommended by Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) Member of Parliament Elma Dienda – but which he hastened to add is already happening – teachers should constantly expand and enrich their professional portfolios.

He said as much as education is a fundamental human right, it has, since time immemorial, been and will always be a shared responsibility.

Therefore, he said, no party to the education covenant, be it the learners, student organisations, teachers, teacher unions, parents, society, the private sector and of course government should and can abdicate this responsibility.

He said the government must provide the requisite resources – human, financial and physical – to guarantee the provision of quality education.

Simataa says if “we can succeed to conceive and midwife an education ecosystem that can function and deliver in this manner, this great nation will attain the provision of equitable quality education where all schools, regardless of their location, will be regarded as schools of excellence – where we will not be confronted with the annual stampede for places in a few schools perceived as good performers”.

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