Cabinet recently approved the curriculum reform for basic education and an eight-year implementation plan.
This is a way to strengthen our resolve to become a knowledge-based society. However, where are we going to get teachers that will be teaching subjects in these streams?
As young leaders, let us have a proposal that would allow institutions of higher education to introduce a curriculum at a postgraduate diploma level that will qualify students from VTC and Nimt to become teachers to take up these positions.
Another resolution that we have taken as leadership is for Namibia to ensure that we have food security in our country.
That resolution should be aligned with the introduction of agriculture in Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) stream.
Let the institutions of higher education come up with a curriculum to qualify agriculture teachers.
We need a high level technicon in between VTCs and universities as there are students who are more qualified to enter VTCs and but not qualified enough for admission to university due to stringed requirements.
There is a huge gap between VTCs and universities.
The ministry of higher education needs to fill up this gap with a high-level technicon to accommodate students who are in that gap.
Highly trained people with technical skills and innovation are one of the most important factors that influence economic growth of a country.
An effective education and research system nurtures thinkers, innovators and problem solvers. Labs, incubators, mentors and partners, are the enablers that every institution of higher learning should acquire.
Experience from other countries illustrate that rapid economic progress can be made over relatively short periods of time by pursuing coherent strategies to build the people’s capabilities to create, and use knowledge.
The newly-revised curriculum for basic education will come at a cost. Teachers need to be trained, materials need to be developed, and laboratories need to be furnished with teaching and learning resources.
Therefore, there is a need to plan prudently so that we ensure the limited financial resources we have cater for the afore-listed needs.
One critical thing that we are calling of is the protection of infant industries to enable local entrepreneurs to manufacture chairs, tables, school uniforms, chalks and other education resources.
This, we believe, could instill entrepreneurial acumen in many young people.
Vocational Education and Training (VET) is steadily emerging as global front-runner in driving national development agendas, and features prominently in the strategic and operational priorities of regional economic communities and multilateral organizations.
The rationale to prioritise and invest in VET is strong and convincing, stemming from the recognition of VET as sources of skills, knowledge-based and transitional societies for the 21st century. VET is further accorded high premium because of its potential to equip citizens with work-ready skills and for its potential to deal with the global challenges of youth employability and unemployment.
Developed economies were not built by PhD holders, but by craftsmen and artisans. We cannot expect to develop if we do not have these skills. Research shows that there is a huge deficit in vocational skills in the labour market.
Moreover, people with vocational skills tend to be more entrepreneurial and through appropriate supportive interventions may even set up their own business, thereby employing others and contribute to job creation. Vocational training is not an inferior skill. It is critical, hence its inclusion under Harambee Prosperity Plan in line with core skills needs identified as per National Skills Development Plan.
Namibia aspires to be an industrialised nation by 2030. To achieve this goal, experts suggest that an economic growth rate of seven percent or more must be sustained till the year 2030 and beyond. A steady growth of this scale requires the government to set up its policy, production, and infrastructure to match other emerging economies around the world.
I want to encourage the youth to remain vigilant and unapologetic in advocating for the rightful space of the Namibian child, as we believe that education is the only tool to overcome poverty and only catalyst that will propel our country to a knowledge-based society.
The role of education is to develop manpower with skills and a problem-solving mind-set, and to supply the same manpower demanded by the emerging economies through creativity, experimentation and exploration.
The Swapo Party Youth League (SPYL)’s education department will continue to monitor and evaluate the situation on the ground and more so, will be looking forward to engage with all education stakeholders in order to share policy proposals and perspectives on the state of education in Namibia, as this will ensure that the education policy is of superior quality and inclusive.
*Hofni Iipinge is SPYL Secretary for Education, Pioneers Movement and Culture.
2019-05-21 10:09:11 4 months ago