• September 28th, 2020

32% of public schools not equipped for online learning

About 32% of Namibian schools do not have telecommunication systems to support e-learning, education ministry executive director Sanet Steenkamp has said. The majority of these schools are located in rural areas across the country. 
A week ago, government announced it was working on modalities to see how best they can offer online learning for private and public schools in Namibia due to the Covid-19 pandemic. 
However, not all learners and parents are fortunate enough to have access to gadgets such as cellphones and laptops that can connect to the internet for e-learning.

This prompted the education ministry to engage all regional education directorate to come up with a Covid-19 preparedness and response plan to cater to those marginalised and needy communities.
Since about 32% of Namibian schools do not have telecommunications, Steenkamp said for primary and secondary schools, school management is busy compiling a Covid-19 preparedness and response plan based on the needs of each school and teachers in various localities. “Teachers will assess how many parents can ‘I get on my WhatsApp groups’. How many have smartphones and how many don’t have? 32% of our schools don’t have telecommunications, so if my school has no network, what is my way of reaching my child,” she said. Therefore, she said, for those schools without network, there will be resource centres or schools equipped to be a production hub where teaching and learning materials will be produced in a form of worksheets. 

She added teachers will prepare such worksheets on a weekly basis.
The materials will then be picked up physically at distribution points for those learners who do not have access to telecommunication. 
She said such an exercise would be done by adhering to social distancing regulations to avoid any possible spread of the virus.

“You cannot say we can just plan e-learning. It’s not possible. Teachers are so creative; they have downloaded learning packages for children. They are excited to get back to their learners,” she maintained. 
Further, Steenkamp stated they have a standing agreement with Namcol to include study materials production of Grade 8, 9 and 11 in addition to Grade11 and 12.

For all the pre-primary and primary schools from Grade 0 to 7, the ministry has started discussions with the Namibia Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) to host specific radio programmes for learners.
“As we speak, our team in Khomas are having a meeting with pre-primary school principals and teachers to come up with a schedule as to when to offer lessons on the local radio. We will only focus on literacy and numeracy. We are bringing fun in education. These kids are small; you cannot have lessons for them the whole day,” she said.
– anakale@nepc.com.na

Albertina Nakale
2020-04-15 10:32:24 | 5 months ago

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