WINDHOEK – To change the local education system for the better, a qualified young language teacher, Kun-Hilde Iimvula (24), currently teaching at the Fidel Castro Ruz Primary School in the Babylon neighbourhood in Katutura, says education in general should not only concentrate more on literacy and numeracy, but must lay foundations in other areas as well.
Iimvula says areas such as physical education, arts, religious and moral education, information and technology are no different from other subjects, and they should not be regarded as non-promotional, because in real life these are what makes up a human being. Primary education she said should also not just be about preparing learners for high schools, but to also prepare learners for life as that is why it is very important to integrate other themes in teaching. “In languages we should teach about disieses such as HIV as well as poverty, business, technology and others. As a language teacher you cannot just go to the class and teach about grammar every day because learners might pass the test or examination, but in real life they might fail. Life is not textbook based, so education must not be textbook based either,” emphasises Iimvula, adding that learners must also be asked general questions and things they experience everyday in life.
“As teachers we devise approaches that enhance learning and supports the curriculum, but we must also pursue high standards in all areas of learning, not just the core subjects. Schools should connect with the community and work closely with community members, the curriculum should also be made responsive to local needs,” explains Iimvula. She adds that the education system is always changing as years goes by, and they cannot be using the same policies or the same curriculum. “We still have high rate of failures, high absenteeism, and there is still a gap between the education officials and the community at large. We can only solve these by working hand in hand as a nation.”
Iimvula advises children to always have a say in their learning, from a younger age. “In the class, learners should be free to express how they feel about a lesson and the changes they want to be made, and members of the Learners Representative Councils (LRCs) should be invited to parents’ meetings to observe and listen and to also have their say and be involved in decisions about their own learning.”
Born in Okalongo in the Omusati Region, Iimvula says coming from a family with teachers to look up to, she always wanted to be a teacher, and living in an extended family with so many children, playing school dramas at home was the norm. She completed her Bachelor’s Degree in Education at UNAM’s Khomasdal Campus. “My first time teaching, I experienced a lot of challenges, there was even a time that I wanted to go back and study something else because I thought this was just too much for me. Imagine having about 40 learners in class, expected to give every learner in class attention,” says Imvula, adding that most of the learners came from disadvantaged family backgrounds.
Some she said come to school hungry, which affects their concentration and class participation. “But being around very positive teachers and very determined management I am still here, I learned a lot and still expecting to learn more and also be part of finding solutions to current problems being experienced in the education system.”