By Staff Reporter WINDHOEK Education is a cornerstone of economic and social opportunity and yet education systems in Namibia and in fact around the world still face some serious challenges. This is the view of Microsoft Partners in Learning. "In Namibia we are struggling with overworked and underpaid teachers, overcrowded schools, scarcity of supplies and textbooks, buildings in need of repair and more but at the same time we are also being challenged to modernize and tap into the global economy in order to be competitive," the giant software company said in a statement. While technology might not be the only answer it can provide youngsters with the necessary workplace skills and enable schools to run more efficiently. "The past 30 years have seen a huge increase in information and communication technology, which has led to a faster life, growth in work output and overall economic growth. Technology and advancement has also come to Namibia and while we are by no means leaders in technology, we nevertheless need to keep up with important issues in order to remain at the forefront of worldwide happenings," it said. In 2003 Microsoft launched the Microsoft Partners in Learning - a five-year global initiative designed to increase technology access for schools and promote innovative approaches to teacher professional development. "Since the launch some remarkable transformations in education systems have happened and the credit goes to hundreds of dedicated and passionate teachers, school leaders and education policy makers. "The Microsoft Partners in Learning initiative supports the dual commitment by Microsoft to advance the quality of education and provide alternative channels for economic progress. "By building partnerships with governments and schools around the globe, Partners in Learning works to integrate technology into daily teaching, learning, and research," the staement said. To date, nearly 3.5 million educators in more than 100 countries have been trained through the Microsoft Partners in Learning curriculum, and more than 80 million students have been reached worldwide. "In order for today's students to acquire the skills needed to be competitive in a still-evolving global world, the learning environment within schools must become seamless and imitate the characteristics and behaviours of the outside world. "To achieve this, the Microsoft Innovative Teachers programme is committed to supporting educators as they develop and share successful methodology and protocols of 21st century learning, incorporate them into their own professional learning, and then into the student learning environment." The Microsoft Innovative Teachers programme is designed to build community among teachers and help them collaborate with their colleagues, provide access to quality content, and challenge educators to use technology in new ways. According to the statement, four Namibian teachers have been invited by the Microsoft project to attend an e-learning African conference that starts on Monday in Accra in Ghana with representatives from thirteen other African countries.
2008-05-22 00:00:00 10 years ago