The goal of basic education is to empower learners to actively participate in making Namibia society a knowledge-based society. Undoubtedly, it is perfect for a country like Namibia. Why? Let us take a closer look at what a knowledge-based society is.
Firstly, it simply means that societies are well educated, relying on the knowledge of their citizens to drive innovation and entrepreneurship. To continue, the type of society that is needed to compete and succeed in the changing economic and political dynamics of the modern world. Expressively, we applaud our government and the Ministry of Basic Education, Arts and Culture for this goal and for its efforts to encourage learners to take an active part in a knowledge-based society, like integrating IC and prevocational subjects in the revised curriculum. However, the question is, how can we build a society like that?
Significantly, true education is the solution, the only road to this much sought-after knowledge-based society. In particular, one that treasures invention and manufacturing; one in which our learners will be prepared to develop our own agriculture, our own land, our own mines. More especially in times of the Covid-19 pandemic, which gave us a wake-up call to strive for self-sufficiency. Consequently, this may just remove the burden from the government.
Besides, why is it so difficult for us as a country to do this? Is Namibia capable of producing her own products, mining machinery, or own technology? In addition, the then Minister of Science, Technology and Commerce of the Republic of Ireland, Noel Treacy, stressed that a sustainable modern economy is based on a solid scientific foundation that has the capacity to turn scientific research and information into goods and social as well as economic benefits.
It may seem that we are dreaming too much; firstly, those in the know agree that it all starts with a dream. On the other hand, where do we start, where do we begin? Moreover, let us leave the curriculum first, the issues of how it should look, etc. We can still get back to this. As educators, we believe that we need to start with ourselves. All in all, what part can and must we play in order to achieve this dream or goal? The education sector of Namibia is overflowing with academics for example, teachers as PhD, Master and Honours degree holders. On the contrary, how are these qualifications used to bring on this knowledge-based society? How can we apply or at least carry out studies and set up programs to achieve this goal?
Notwithstanding the above, Robert J. Marzano states that of the many initiatives to pass through education is the concept of professional learning communities. This refers to a schoolwide system of teacher teams that collaborate on issues of instruction, assessment and other school topics – unfortunately space will not allow us to expand on this. Not only that; these teams emphasise collaboration, critical thinking and ultimately improved learning. Additionally, developing collaborative teams will enable schools to transform components critical to improving education. Why can we as teachers not apply this collaboration and set up our own research hubs within our respective regions? In line with the aforementioned, critically looking at what hinders our progress towards this goal and also to investigate and establish what is working so as to maintain these strengths. The bottom line is that, as educators, we cannot rely exclusively on the ministry or NIED to come up with measures to ensure that the goal is achieved. Again, maybe we are dreaming too much.
As teachers, in harmony with our respective regional offices or circuit offices, we can just as well lobby for such research hubs. For good measure, through this high performing professional learning, communities are established across the country. Our teachers are more than capable of bringing about this transformation and realize the goal of inspiring learners to actually engage in making Namibia a knowledge-based society.
Importantly, as an alternative to blaming and finding fault, how about looking for ways and means to work together to resolve challenges? Likewise, Together Everyone Achieves More. Yes, we may have challenges, concerns and different opinions and yes, as a TEAM we can overcome it and surely realise this goal. Maybe we dream too much, somebody please wake us up.