While education authorities are desperately trying to rescue the current academic year, the Teachers Union of Namibia (TUN), has advised that the 2020 school year be called off due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
TUN secretary general Mahongora Kavihuha suggested that all learners be transferred to the next grade for the 2021 academic year in order not to avoid clogging up the system for new enrolments in grade one and pre-primary.
The TUN is proposing that the 2020 scheme of work be adjusted to accommodate most critical areas of learning that the learners should have covered during the current academic year.
Additionally, TUN suggests learners who are in grade 11 (new) and 12 (old) be allowed to progress to institutions of higher learning and universities.
“Institutions of high learning and universities to be mandated to provide breaching courses to assist these students. Universities and institutions of higher learning must make use of learners’ academic performance of old grade 11 as a yardstick to place these students accordingly and all leaners who will be transferred or registered with the universities or the institution of high learning must qualify to be funded by NSFAF,” Kavihuha proposed.
Although the education ministry also came up with four possible options on how to commence the school (academic) year, Kavihuha suggests that Namibia should stick to its academic year running from January to December. He feels for the sake of absorbing of normal circumstances such as Covid-19, it will be prudent for schools to move a fourth-term calendar. “Reopening of schools in Namibia should not take precedence over the health and safety of our children and by extension any Namibian people at large,” he cautioned. Government closed down schools in March to curb the spread of the coronavirus, but according to the ministry of education, face-to-face classes will only resume on 3 August 2020, in line with the four-stage plan devised by government to ease the Covid-19 lockdown. Education executive director Sanet Steenkamp stated at the weekend that schools will reopen on the 3 August with the resumption of quarter three with all learners returning to schools simultaneously.
Teachers are, however, expected at work today. Steenkamp said continued efforts are geared towards ensuring the health and safety of staff members at all duty stations. She noted further guidelines would be issued in due course. In accordance with the pronouncement of reopening of schools within the Namibian Covid-19 stages of restriction, all staff of the ministry of education have to report to their respective duty stations today. This includes all head office and regional office staff. Steenkamp said they are cognisant that some school staff still need to travel back to their respective duty stations. “Principals, teachers, administrative staff, institutional workers and hostel staff are expected to physically report to their schools during the period of 6th to 11 of May 2020. No staff member may report to their schools later than 11th May 2020,” she directed. Further, all schools are directed to use quarter two to prepare and implement preparedness and response plans with due regard of World Health Organisation Covid-19 protocols. This period, she said, until the return of learners to schools will also be used for the planning and implementation of continued online learning as well as teacher capacity development.
2020-05-05 10:21:24 | 4 months ago