Ministry spends N$16M on underqualified teachers

By Paulina Ndalikokule

THE Ministry of Education Arts and Culture spends close to N$16 million per year in a special diploma programme to train underqualified teachers in the old lower primary phase, now referred to as junior primary phase.

Ministry spokesperson Absalom Absalom in a media release said the Diploma in Junior Primary Education (DJPE) course was developed to train close to 2 000 teachers who were unqualified or underqualified.

He said the programme currently has 1 938 registered teachers registered for Year 1 to 3, and the first cohort of 734 student teachers in their final year are expected to graduate in April. “This programme costs close to N$16 million per year (covering administration, tuition, programme delivery, materials, etc) and is expected to come to an end by 2021,” Absalom said.

He said the second cohort (those currently in Year 3) registered 572 students and the current second-years number 537, while 95 learners were not promoted to the third cohort. Absalom also explained that more than 1,900 junior primary teachers who are enrolled in designed up-grading programmes at the University of Namibia were trained on the revised curriculum.

“In pre-primary, 1 122 teachers were trained nationally for two weeks per group. For grades 1-3, 8 000 teachers were inducted on the revised curriculum at regional level in six subjects. Regional facilitators were trained at national level for two weeks and the duration of regional workshops was six days over the years of 2013 and 2014,” he noted.

In 2015 and 2016, 1 149 regional facilitators were trained at national level in four days in 26 subjects at a senior primary phase while 19 935 teachers were trained in different subjects in regions. At junior secondary phase 1 900 facilitators and teachers were trained in computer studies and Setswana on the revised curriculum, while a total of 9 735 teachers were trained at regional level for four days.

He said about 22 teachers received skills upgrading training course for two weeks at the Namibia Institute of Mining Technology in Arandis in 2017 for re-introduced technical subjects. For the newly introduced phase of grade 10-11, 595 facilitators were trained by NIED, including teachers for smaller learner entry subjects, such as fashion and fabrics. A further 4 232 teachers were trained in the regions.

According to Absalom, the ministry followed the cascading training model in line with the decentralisation of the functions to regional councils, which means the regional educational directorates identified competent facilitators and two to three regions were grouped to share teaching experiences and best practices. “It should be noted that the revised NSSCO curriculum has a significant degree of continuity in terms of broad content outline, in line with what many teachers were teaching over the past years,” he said.

He emphasised that the curriculum from pre-primary to NSSCO level was revised based on the old curriculum and majority of the teachers are qualified with diplomas and degrees to teach the subjects. “This approach is slightly moved to more investigative and data analytic skills and techniques to discuss, critically engage with learning content and evaluate under a variety of scenarios,” Absalom added.