• November 20th, 2018
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From an ordinary teacher to university lecturer

Youth Corner, Popya
Youth Corner, Popya

Pinehas Nakaziko Windhoek-Pursuing his education while growing up in a peasant home was a bit of a challenge for Simon Albin. His mother would always ask him to miss out on school for two to three days a week, to look after animals or do some other home chores. Albin, who rose from an ordinary teacher to a university lecturer, says it was not easy growing up in this situation. “Looking after animals to secure food was more important to my mother than me going to school because she believed that food is produced at home, and not at school.”  “Some days I had to disobey this order and this helped me to pass my Grade 5 and 7, which were tough grades in my entire schooling. I had to walk about ten kilometers to school every day on an empty stomach without a proper school uniform, shoes or school bag, but this never stopped me from going to school,” recounts Albin. Moving to a boarding school life became very daunting, and for the whole school term, his guardians could only afford to give him N$150. “With this money I must buy my lotion, all school stationery and pay my transport to and from home during [out] weekends. Gracefully my guardians would pay my school and hostel fees on time and in full,” he says. “My staple food in the school hostel was Oshiwambo traditional bread (oshikwiila), made from omahangu flour with or without sugar. I only had one pair of casual clothes, but I managed to top my class. After evening studies at the hostel, I would sleep on an empty stomach,” he says. Albin recalls his shining moments at school, outshining all. “I was a disciplined learner, which made me a favourite learner amongst my teachers. Today I can proudly say I am a strong man because I worked hard in my life to overcome a vast number of trying social challenges.” A lecturer in numeracy development and mathematics education at the University of Namibia, Southern Campus, Albin adds that it was not easy for him “to get in”. As one needs a master’s degree to teach at a university, for Albin it was a struggle to fulfil his passion. In the final year of his first honours degree, Albin applied for a master’s degree course at some universities in South Africa but his applications were unsuccessful because he did not have two years’ full-time teaching experience. This was despite being a top student in the faculty for four years. His application was also declared unsuccessful for two consecutive years because his degree was rated low in the evaluation framework. But he never gave up. He went on to work as a teacher while doing his second honours degree in education through Rhodes University in South Africa. After sometime he re-applied again and was admitted to the same university to do his master’s. “It took me two years of sleepless nights, fatigue, social and academic stress to finish writing my thesis, but then I graduated with distinction.” His passion for teaching started at high school when he would mentor and teach his schoolmates mathematics. “As a peer teacher at school, they named me professor as they were happy with my teaching.” Albin started school in Grade 1 at Oshifukwa Combined School and then moved to Omboto Primary School from Grade 2 to 4. He completed subsequent grades till the eighth grade at Niigambo Combined School before moving to Ekulo Secondary School where he matriculated as the best senior dux learner and best Grade 12 candidate. “I scooped many merit awards and certificates in science subjects at school, plus mathematics. At the university I received three awards in three years for being the best student in the faculty of education. Because of my outstanding performance, I earned a thank you grant from De Beers and a bursary from Oshikoto Bursary Fund. With these funds, my study for the first degree was rosy.” His passion and mission is to capture the minds and hearts of every student in his class. His advice to young people is that they be themselves and always give their best at every opportunity that comes their way. “Refuse to quit, compete and never underestimate your abilities. Never feel comfortable with your success of yesterday because today is not yesterday. Strive to be the best and fair to yourself. When you win, don’t expect everyone to celebrate with you and when you are falling apart don’t hesitate to ask your friends to remind you of your blessings.”  
New Era Reporter
2018-01-31 10:15:25 9 months ago

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