The acting secretary general of Nanso Patience Masua has said although it is early to judge the overall effect of Covid-19 on Namibia’s education system, especially in rural and peri-urban areas, the virus will have a long term trajectory of learning innovations, digitisation of education.
“Covid-19 will also enable how online learning, as one of the knowledge platforms will on a long term complement traditional methods of learning,” mentioned Masua.
She formed part of a panel of speakers on a webinar, hosted by the Institute of Public Policy Research (IPPR) dubbed ‘Youth Speak: The Future We Want’.
Masua said due to Covid-19, the education sector has been pushed to change. “We have seen surprising innovations with some schools rapidly adapting to modes such as WhatsApp, including other modes like Google classroom and Zoom,” she highlighted.
Masua said: “We have seen that the traditionally entrenched institutional ways of teaching have been outmoded. Were we ready for this change? No, we were not, but should we adapt to the change? Yes, we should if we want to remain part of a global economy and system that is moving forward.”
She said the pressure being put on the government and private sector was visible to search for innovative ways to have education continue and to protect the academic year in a short period.
“We have seen this happening in basic and higher education. We have seen institutions like Unam had to rapidly introduce an online system for all full-time students and adapting to such an online system for examinations.
Those are the results we welcome and what we are pushing for when we talk about innovative ways,” she noted while acknowledging the visible challenges during these models.
She said Covid-19 has highlighted that learning should be integrated into people’s daily routine.
“The goals aligned in plans such as SDGs and Vision 2030 is that learning should be able to take place anywhere and anytime around the world.
“Going forward, I feel classes should able to go off and online. A Namibian child for example who has a parent who is a diplomat should be able to attend a Namibian school from anywhere around the world and still get that quality and necessary support, simply because it is possible,” suggested Masua.