• June 7th, 2020

//Kharas character transformation programme – hope for a better future

Jan Scholtz

Namibia is facing multiple challenges at the moment. The prevailing drought and difficult economic circumstances are factors that have further negative spin-off effects. 
Jobs and resources are scarce and national morale is low.

It became apparent that crime, domestic violence and the decay of personal values and ethics in our youth are on the rise. What is causing it? This is a complex situation, not easily grasped and explained.

We do know however, that this situation will hamper the future development of Namibia, as businesses struggle to recruit committed and educated young people and increasing crime and vandalism is costing the country tremendous amounts of money, not even to speak of jeopardising our international reputation (which is important for our economy).

As it often does not happen at home anymore, the schools have an enormous responsibility in teaching our children the important life skills and to alleviate the effect that many parents are not in the position anymore to help their kids becoming responsible, morally stable and forward-thinking adults. Finances are a problem for our schools and after school teaching cost money.

It was identified, that children in the //Kharas Region are struggling when they have to enter the adult and work life, lacking enthusiasm, ethics and the will to learn and to “hang in there”.  Violence and substance abuse are daily news in our national newspapers and have us worried for the future of our beautiful country.

During my regular visits to Aus, I met Reverend Koos Engelbrecht  who has been concerned about the youth and their susceptibility to violence for a while and felt that there was a need to do something about it. After several meetings and discussions, we came across a programme for character building that had shown success in South Africa. 

We embarked on a research mission and made contact with the Adonai Trust, which is funding such programmes. 

With the support of the Executive Director of the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture, as well as the regional director of the same ministry in //Kharas Region, made possible by the financial backing by the Adonai Trust and in cooperation with //Kharas Christ in Lüderitz, a pilot programme will be launched at schools in Lüderitz, Aus, Keetmanshoop and Koës in July, and further rolling out in due course. 

Together with a delegation from the Directorate of Education, Arts and Culture, we will embark on a familiarisation trip in July 2019, visiting the Upington High School, where this programme has shown significant impact on the learners. 

For instance, schools that have embarked on the programme have reported that overall, academic performance had increased and substance abuse, bullying, theft, racism and forgery had decreased.  A ray of hope for the future!

The //Kharas Character Transformation Programme will be embedded in the school curriculum under the subject of Life Skills, focusing on the pillars of fairness, citizenship, responsibility, integrity, care, respect and trustworthiness. The campaign will be offered by specifically trained mentors after normal school hours, in order to avoid disruption to the normal teaching programmes. It will be compulsory for the learners though.

While our young learners will pro-actively be re-introduced to the pillars of a caring and ethical society and to change thinking patterns, the responsibility to spread the values and increase morale lies with all of us. The programme must not stop at the school gates and the sole responsibility cannot lie with the teachers and mentors.

As coordinator of the programme, in my consultations with the life skills teachers, suggestions were that all parents, churches, state organs and Namibian business owners play a pivotal role in carrying these values forward.  As the programme evolves, the public will be informed about the progress and the role each and everyone must play. 

If we in the //Kharas Region can succeed in instilling these character traits in our young people and give them back the hope for a tomorrow, that it worth living and working for, we can be the example for the rest of Namibia. 

Let us spread the news and let us embrace these ethical values every day.  Let us work together towards unity, respect, responsibility and integrity. The future is in our hands.

Reverend Jan. A. Scholtz writes in his personal capacity.

Reverend Jan. A. Scholtz is a holder of Diploma in Youth Work and Development from the University of Zambia (UNZA), Chairperson of the //Kharas Regional Council and !Nami#nüs Constituency Councillor.This article is written in his personal capacity.

Staff Reporter
2019-06-19 09:53:45 | 11 months ago

Be the first to post a comment...