WINDHOEK - Although a National Professional Standards for Teachers in Namibia was developed in 2006 to provide a framework and guide educators, the implementation of this policy has not been effectively monitored.
According to higher education minister Dr Itah Kandjii-Murangi, there is no statutory body to manage the implementation of such a policy. Kandjii-Murangi was speaking during a two-day teacher education indaba, which ended yesterday. The meeting aimed to capture insight and knowledge on quality teacher preparation from experts, researchers and policymakers, among other objectives.
The indaba was organised by the University of Namibia’s Faculty of Education.
She cautioned that it is not good enough to interrogate the content of teacher education programmes without anchoring these on to policy framework.
“And this is where our two ministries of education, arts and culture and that of higher education, training and innovation must continue to work closely together to improve comprehensiveness and coherence of teacher policies; develop planning tools which inform the demand and supply of teachers and attract the right candidates into teacher education programmes,” she stated.
Equally, she highlighted, when one look at medicine, law, nursing, and many others, these professions have statutory bodies that set standards, and nobody can come into the profession who does not meet the set standards. However, according to Kandjii-Murangi, this is not the case for the teaching profession in Namibia, because there is no statutory body to manage the implementation of the national professional standards for teachers. She said the quality of teacher education graduates is influenced by the quality of the teacher education programme, the calibre of teacher educators and the teaching and learning environment.
“As we asked ourselves questions about how we educate teachers, we should be cognisant of those who prepare teacher education graduates. Teacher educators are as critical as our teachers, in improving the quality of our education system,” she remarked.
With the adoption of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 4 on education and the dedicated target recognising teachers as key to the development of the 2030 Education Agenda, teachers are the key to achieving all of the SDG 4 targets. Therefore, the minister said, the 2030 education agenda stipulates that: “as teachers are a fundamental condition for guaranteeing quality education, teachers and educators should be empowered, adequately recruited and remunerated, motivated, professionally qualified, and supported within well-resourced, efficient and effectively governed systems”.
Equally, she said, as stakeholders embark on the journey to improve the quality of education and responses to the demands of both local and global imperatives, it is her belief that teachers will continue to play a critical role in shaping the country’s national destiny.
As envisioned in the Vision 2030, she emphasised Namibia needs to develop human capital and build institutional capacity to create the labour force necessary to meet the demands of the economy and to address the problem of human resources skills shortages across all industrial sectors.