European Union Commissioner Jutta Urpilainen said a crucial thing for Namibia right now is to invest in teacher training, which ultimately sets the tone for the foundation of early childhood and pre-primary education.
Urpilainen, alongside the gender and education ministry and a UNICEF delegation, on Tuesday visited an EU-Funded Early Childhood Development Centre, Harmony ECD Centre, at the Mix informal settlement.
This assessment forms part of a high-
level two-day visit by two European Commissioners – Urpilainen, who is in charge of International Partnerships, as well as Thierry Breton, who is in charge of the internal market – in celebration of 33 years of the EU-Namibia partnership,
aimed at sustainable inclusive growth for all.
“Teacher training is important. I am happy to learn that the gender equality ministry is providing this seven-week course. Nevertheless, frankly speaking, it is too short. You need to do more because if you want to be a well-qualified teacher – even though I see very talented people working here you need to train them more,” she
She said the EU will launch a regional teacher training, purely for sub-Saharan Africa, which Namibia is likely to benefit from it.
“More teachers need to be trained – and not just any training, but quality training. I sincerely hope Namibia can benefit from this initiative,” said Urpilainen.
Harmony ECD centre, which was constructed at N$1.4 million, was established last year. The centre has four caretakers and 57 children, comprising 33 girls and 24 boys.
The caretaker, Olivia Sunday, said although there is no water and electricity at the centre, they are grateful it was erected, and that it caters to members of the community.
“The centre does not offer meals, and some parents cannot afford to send their little ones with food. We have a special reserve for those – and that’s two slices of bread and a glass of juice,” stated Sunday.
In Namibia, the EU Budget Support programme on early childhood and pre-primary education aims at setting the foundations children need to learn and thrive in life by improving equitable
and inclusive access to quality Early Childhood Development and Pre-primary Education, as well as strengthening the efficiency and quality of the governance system.
In a speech read on her behalf by her technical advisor Yvonne Kaukuetu, Minister Doreen Sioka said the programmes
funded by the EU are increasing equitable and inclusive access to early childhood education.
“With the EU development fund towards the education sector, the ministry has constructed 48 ECDs, where 44 of these are standard. Four are model ECDs that
operate as out centres in the regions,” she highlighted. Sioka added that 42 of these centres have been renovated and upgraded in all the regions, courtesy of the EU. “Additionally, the ministry has trained 344 ECD caretakers in ECD basic curriculum,
which is an in-service training programme,” she noted. - firstname.lastname@example.org