RUNDU - Deputy education minister Anna Nghipondoka says teachers should not come up with excuses for poor performance because of the revised curriculum, as they are professionals who are qualified to teach their respective subjects. The minister was speaking to education stakeholders at Rundu yesterday, where challenges in the sector were thoroughly discussed. “I am sure many of you are saying no teachers are prepared because they are not trained, while those that are trained are complaining there are no funds to reach the others who require training,” she said. The deputy minister said she has come across complaints that teachers were not trained and are unable to teach the new curriculum because of a shortage of textbooks.
“Some would say teachers are not really prepared because some subjects are new: Physical Science has now become Chemistry and Physics – those are the challenges that I am receiving,” she said. “The question remains, if your school is struggling, did you go to other schools? Do our teachers work together to discuss and analyse the changed syllabus and agree on the strategies to address those little changes that were brought in? It is not like the curriculum has changed; it has only been revised.” Nghipondoka noted it was not the first time the curriculum has been reformed or revised. “But if we only rely on training, saying ‘I will not do anything until training; I am waiting for training’. (Don’t wait for training) …. you are a professional teacher – well qualified to teach that subject – train yourself,” she said. “Study that syllabus and where you find yourself stuck, say ‘director, our school has a problem with this specific area of the subject’. But people, let us do thorough research and do what we can already. With the 2020 examination being the first of the revised curriculum, Nghipondoka reminded educators in Kavango East that competition is still rife. “Where will you be? will you go down as the region which performed well or poor during the first examination of the revised curriculum, or where will you stand?” she asked.
The revised curriculum has been heavily criticised by various stakeholders, including the Namibia National Teachers Union (Nantu) and the Teachers Union of Namibia (TUN). TUN secretary general Mahongora Kavihuha earlier this year said the implementation of the new revised national curriculum has the potential to widen the gap between the rich and poor. “There is a clear and incontrovertible evidence that the new revised national curriculum, instead of narrowing the divide between the two socio-economic classes, actually serves to accentuate the divide,” said Kavihuha. Nantu secretary general Loide Shaanika was also quoted as saying earlier this month that the education ministry could have put various measures in place before the implementation. She suggested these measures are policy initiatives, development of the new syllabus and provision of in-service training and continuous professional development programmes for teachers. “The development of support systems and readiness of the current infrastructures was essential to ensure the successful implementation of the new curriculum,” Shaanika maintained. According to her, all these measures were not properly addressed and, thus, had a negative impact on the effectiveness of the curriculum.
No nonsense… Education deputy minister Anna Nghipondoka.
Photo: John Muyamba