Leader of the minority National Democratic Party (NDP) Martin Lukato has critiqued suggestions to use e-learning when schools and universities re-open after they were closed nationwide as part of a raft of state-sanctioned measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
Education executive director Sanet Steenkamp says 32% of public schools, of which the majority are in poorly-resourced rural areas, are not equipped for online learning.
Some of the social measures taken to break the chain of transmission include schools and universities being closed by government, the blanket stoppage of professional sporting events, and stopped church service, among others.
Though the number of infections constantly keeps changing, by yesterday, over two million cases have been registered in 193 countries, of which Namibia has 16 since the pandemic initially emerged in China last December.
“As all Namibian teachers are expected to start teaching through online, the big question is how do they teach learners who do not have cell-phones and computers? How do you go and teach learners online while the majority of our learners are found in the remote areas, where there is no access to internet, electricity and lack the necessary equipment,” Lukato asked rhetorically.
He said e-learning will also not be effective particularly in rural areas where school-going children are expected to assist with subsistence chores such as herding livestock and to assist with the harvesting of maize and millet among other tasks assigned by their parents.
“Therefore, we suggest that the ministry of education should wait for the situation to be calm before they could re-open schools. This is because this pandemic kills very fast,” he stated.
Lukato has meanwhile expressed his party not being content with President Hage Geingob “appointing or imposing governors on people in the regions.”
He was referring to the recent appointment of several new governors and re-appointment of regional political heads by the President to head the country’s 14 regions.
Despite the Constitution mandating the President to appoint regional governors, the NDP leader stated, “We in NDP are not happy about President Hage Geingob appointing or imposing governors on people in the regions. This is not democracy. Democracy is when people are given the opportunity to choose their own leaders or governors. Some governors have completely failed to develop their regions but are being re-appointed.”
“Let the people choose their own leaders to lead them; people must decide who they want to be their governor – not to be given as if they do not the wisdom to do so,” he maintained.
Lukato heaped praise on himself and credited himself for “using my visionary ideas” when the President appointed Esther Muinjangue, the leader of the opposition National Unity Democratic Organisation (NUDO), as the new deputy minister of health and social services.
NDP in the 2019 National Assembly and Presidential Elections made a call on the campaign trail for capable members of the opposition to be appointed as ministers and deputy ministers.