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Opinion - Towards a failed education for self-reliance in Namibia

2020-09-25  Staff Reporter

Opinion - Towards a failed education for self-reliance in Namibia
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In his book, ‘Education for Self-Reliance’ Julius Nyerere spells out clearly that education must inculcate and reinforce the traditional African socialist values of equality, cooperativeness and self-reliance. 
It must foster the social goals of living together as communities and lastly as a nation. 
It should involve the young ones in developing their societies.  
The young must learn to combine practical and intellectual activities and to respect and make use of the stock knowledge and wisdom accumulated over generations in the society. 

Education should also prepare the young people for work in the rural society, where development depends largely upon the efforts of the people in agriculture and village development. 
In exile, Namibia flirted and toy-toyed with similar educational aspirations at Loudima Technical and Vocational School, but failed to implement that after 30 years inside the country. 
The exile education system could not outsmart the long-established Bantu education system. 
In trying to circumvent the colonial racist education system, the newly formed nationalist Government has to adopt a completely foreign Cambridge system despite calls to modify the neighbourly colonial educational mode. 
The Cambridge system backfired with adverse consequences. Since then Namibia has been applying a trial-and-error method to remedy the ailing and limping education system whose signs of a failed tuition technique are there for everyone to see.

High unemployment rate
With a population of less than three million coupled with abundant resources Namibia should have done better in terms of employment for our youth. 
But the situation is becoming worse, where the youth has become desperate hence the high crime rate in the country because hungry people are angry people. 
But lack of employment should not encourage lawlessness and crime. 
There were supposed to be massive technical and vocational programmes targeting the unemployed youth. 
But the opposite is true that there are few programmes of such nature aimed at benefitting the youth. 
The rural areas are hard hit where self-reliant programmes are hard to come by. 
The main problem is that these youth are not equipped with skills. 
The majority has basic education which cannot see them through vocational colleges whose entry requirements are higher than theirs. 
The power that be simply fold its arms and watch as these young people move aimlessly and hopelessly. 
The failed Brigade and other running programmes should assist the youth with self-reliant projects but need funding.

Dependence syndrome
This is evident in most sectors of Namibian life. 
How can one explain the situation in which Namibia finds herself that after 30 years of independence we still depend heavily on other countries for simple staff like nurses and even teachers leaving the indigenous people without jobs? This is no xenophobic remark, but a reality as charity begins at home. 
This syndrome is worse in the agricultural sector in which Namibia can hardly produce food to feed herself, but depends on South Africa and other countries. 
The other year when South Africa had bird flu, Namibia had to travel all the way to Brazil to order chicken for her consumption. 

Limited industrialization
 For 30 years, Namibia should have invested and ventured into this sector to become self-reliant but the country has been dragging its feet in this regard. 

High rate of corruption and kleptomania
Namibia seems to surpass some neighbouring countries in this sphere of operation. 
Millions of monies simply disappear and, in most cases, unaccounted for. 
It is a simple mathematical calculation where figures in either tenders or other quotations transactions are inflated and the parties share the loot. 
The money which was supposed to benefit the nation ends up in someone’s pocket and business continues as usual. 
Because the culprits are never apprehended, they do it again and again despite the real fact that they are emptying the national purse.

The liberation struggle is rendered meaningless
The role of liberation in education should be freedom from slavery, exploitation and servitude in which one is destined to attain self-actualization, as an individual, not as a puppet. 
It was only through education that an African would be liberated from the mentality of slavery and colonialism, making him aware of his equality with other human races. 
In this scenario, the leadership since independence has portrayed itself as more equal than ordinary Namibians by selfishly exploiting the resources of the nation. 

Decolonising the minds of Namibians
Decolonising the African means to overthrow the authority which alien traditions exercise over the Africans. 
This demands the dismantling of supremacist beliefs and the structures which support them in every sphere of African life. 
But decolonization does not mean ignorance of foreign traditions, but simply means denial of their authority and withdrawal of allegiance from them. 
Namibians should embark upon programmes in which all value their creativity and start thinking along national lines. 
The masses should be taught systematically and inculcate into their minds the effects, importance and advantages of liberation pedagogy. 
This can be done through different fora such as discussion groups, media and through other means of communication. 
But the majorities of Namibians are still living in colonial times, this time around black colonialism and taught to accept everything without questions. 
It has become unacceptable to ask genuine questions in political parties because it is interpreted as unpatriotic and dangerous to the security of the State. 

Education should be problem-solving orientated
At both formal schooling setup and in the community, what is taught should assist children and other stakeholders to solve every day problems. 
Education should be seen to be pragmatic and theory should be put into practice. 
For example, at both primary and secondary levels, learners should be taught in basic carpentry skills.  
If a desk is broken, learners should be able to repair it.  
Where the school is in short supply of vegetables, learners should do some basic gardening and grow vegetables to feed themselves and at the same time, earn some income.  
Both teachers and learners need not be told that, this needs common sense. 
Toilets and sinks which may need basic repairs which could be made by learners take time to be attended to, and in some cases end up being abandoned and finally become desolate. 
Encouraging unity in diversity 
It is a fact Namibians were subjected to a divide and rule type of administration for many years.
 There are more advantages and fruits in unity in diversity. 
The linguistic categories can equally live peacefully and work together as one united people of the Namibian nation. 
Even here the government has been sowing seeds of division as this can be seen in the proliferation of political parties based on ethnicity. 

2020-09-25  Staff Reporter

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