By Dominic Sikopo
Caprivi Education Acting Director Mr. Austin Samupwa recently held a Media Briefing to address the current state of education in the region.
Mr. Samupwa started by explaining that, 2012 was the most difficult and challenging year in the administration of education in the region.
Among the notable challenges was the decline in the external examination results from 59.3% to 52.2% in Gade 10 which dropped from position 4(nationally) to position 6 in the NSSC.
“This state of affairs necessitated the immediate reinstatement of administrative measures that assisted the region to rise from 40% pass rate in 2006 to 59.3% in 2011”,Acting Director said.
He added that an improvement of 20% in the pass rate was recorded in the last 5 years.Last year December 13, the Regional Management Team met to diagnose and map the way forward for 2013 and beyond, “some of the milestone decisions taken was the summoning of schools and regional office Managers before schools officially re-opened”.
Mr. Samupwa explained that this was done to find out what had brought about the decline after five years of an upward trend. Among the factors in the increased failure rates were lack of support visits from the Director`s office to schools in 2012.
He urged for enough support like transport to be given to teachers and discipline among staff members and learners, “all school staff have also been informed to avoid the elephant in the kraal including late coming, indolence, unpreparedness, uncooperativeness and other evils which impact negatively on education delivery.”
Mr.Samupwa shad some lights on the Involvement of Honourable Regional Councillors in education that a programme has been drawn and will be included at the beginning of the trimester when externally-examined grade 7-10 learners will be addressed by Regional Councillors and education officials.
He also identified lack of material resources as one of the shortcomings that “needs analysis was conducted in May 2013 and the Caprivi Regional Tender Board was approached to advertise items needed by various sections of regional education office”.
Caprivi Education Acting Director also emphasised the importance of the effective monitoring of teaching and learning as Inspectors have been charged not to only scratch the work on surface but to dig deeper and inquire on the performance of individual school managers (Principals and HOD).
“In a similar vein, advisory teachers have also been charged to ensure that they account for the regional results of their individual subjects.”, Mr Samupwa explain that this was a two-pronged approach to ensure no staff member hides behind others in the pursuance for excellent results.
He however lambasted on the transferring of problematic teachers that “The office has taken a stand to discipline staff who misbehave at their duty stations and not to transfer staff to other schools, except in cases where a staff member`s presence at a particular duty station pauses a threat to the orderliness in that school.”, he stressed.
He also addressed the issue of teacher housing by saying that an amount of N$10 million dollars has been budgeted for to begin constructions of teacher houses, “RMT made a decision to start building at Senior Secondary Schools, about 25 teacher houses will be built in 2013/14 financial year”, He explained adding that pending ratification by Caprivi Regional Council on June 14, 2013 thereafter house building will kick off immediately.
Inconsistency in promotion requirements “Following the realisation that promotion requirements for the first grade 8 and 9 differ sharply with those in grade 10,” so in response to this the Director said that a document was presented at the last Ministerial Policy Coordinating Policy(MPCC) meeting chaired by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Education Mr. Alfred Ilukena to critically look at this matter, the Acting Director explained again that the suggestion will be carried together with the present revision of curriculum by National institute for Educational Development (NIED).
He said the school principals have been very forthcoming and pro active in ensuring that their vacancies are announced way ahead of time in order to have little time lost when teachers go on authorised leave, for example maternity.
He outlined that the maximisation of teaching and learning time in schools and workshops for teachers should be only allowed in the afternoon”, Mr. Samupwa stressed that he hoped his department would improve on this next year.
On the issue of Relief Teacher strategy “The idea is to have a budget to be able to employ a teacher in place of teachers who may find themselves on long or short illness”, the Director explained that this issue was submitted by the region to MPCC and this strategy is not revived.
“It has been resolved that it is compulsory for teachers to study examiners reports under the guidance of advisory teachers.”according to him, this will go a long way to ensure learners do not repeat the same mistakes in succeeding examinations. He explained that a copy of a report in this regard will be submitted to his office for scrutiny and further guidance.
In another development on erecting new physical facilities , Mr. Samupwa promised that in this financial year his office is embarking on the feasibility studies for the constructions of the major infrastructures such as the Regional Education Offices, new Teachers Resources Centre and Two (2) Community Learning and Development Centres.
“We have also resolved to do away with traditional structures in schools; consequently all schools with traditional structures will be dealt with this year.Unless new schools are built there will be no more schools with traditional structures in this region”, he warned.
He added that a date had been set ,(December 12, 2013) for all projects managed in the region to be completed.
“In addition, ten hostels are approved of which two have had their feasibility studies completed this financial year, we expect to identify two for the next financial year in consultation with the Caprivi Regional Council and communicate such to head office”, He stressed.
In conclusion,Caprivi Acting Education Director said he was quiet confident that with these mass implementation of programmes, the Caprivi region shall return to the path it lost in 2012 and further promised that results will improve.