Student teachers shun pre-primary education specialisation

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Albertina Nakale

Windhoek – Access to pre-primary education has failed to reach the desirable levels with less than 50 percent of Grade 1 learners ever having attended pre-primary education. “Insufficient budget for pre-primary education and insufficient number of qualified teachers for pre-primary education pose a challenge,” said Education, Arts and Culture Minister Katrina Hanse-Himarwa

This despite an increase in the enrolment of students to study education, yet many of those enrolled shy away from pre-primary and junior primary specialisation. And that is where the biggest needs are for qualified teachers, she said.

She also noted that although evidence shows that Namibia has made considerable progress towards achieving Universal Primary Education (UPE) and Universal Secondary Education (USE) in terms of access, high repetition, dropout rates and survival rates in primary education remain a challenge.

Other challenges she pointed out include the lack of creating and filling critical teacher positions, in the absence of an allocated budget, which has serious negative implications on the workload of teachers in schools, classroom management and the quality of educational outcomes.

The ministry is responsible for more than 755,943 learners in 1,883 schools, taught by 28,688 teachers, according to the Education Management Information System (EMIS), 2018 – Fifteenth School Day Statistics.
Hanse-Himarwa, during her motivation for the N$13.5 billion budget allocation for the ministry, also said the slow trend of infrastructure development and rehabilitation remains a concern as about 85 percent of infrastructure is in a state of disrepair.

The implementation of the Namibia Senior Secondary Certificate Ordinary (NSSCO) curriculum has brought about costs for additional needs for more infrastructure development such as additional classrooms, laboratories, renovation of existing laboratories and classrooms and equipment for pre-vocational or technical subjects.

“All the curriculum development activities such as syllabus development, development of curriculum support materials including textbooks, evaluation of curriculum support materials, induction of teachers, education officers and school principals, printing, production and distribution of syllabi and other curriculum materials, need substantive funding,” Hanse-Himarwa stated.

She said the budgetary allocations for the additional teachers required will be finalised after analysis of the
availability of teachers in the senior secondary phase.

For the 2018/19 financial year the ministry has set aside funds for the implementation of the Basic Education Curriculum, especially for Grade 10 in 2019.
The ministry set aside N$60 million to construct additional classrooms for the implementation of the Basic Education Curriculum, especially for Grade 10 in
2019.

The ministry also set aside N$58 million for textbooks procurement for the Grade 10 and 11 to aid teachers.
She said N$76,960 has been allocated for secondary school principals’ training; while N$976,800 is set aside for the evaluation of textbooks for Grade 10 and 11.

Another challenge experienced in the sector is the poor image of the profession in pre-primary and junior primary.
She maintained improving school leadership and supervision through capacitated school principals and inspectors of education, as well as community involvement by trained school board members need to expand from small pilot interventions to a national programme.

Caption (Pic: Katrina.jpg):

Education minister Katrina Hanse-Himarwa

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