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1 Resolutions, Way Forward 1st July 2011 In a wide-ranging keynote address, H.E. Dr. Hifikipunje Pohamba, urged participants to this conference to interrogate the Education System with the purpose of enhancing coordination, ensuring quality outcomes for national economic development, ensuring value for money, and enabling Namibia to participate meaningfully in the Knowledge Economy (KE). Taking our cue from H.E. s presentation, we have systematically interrogated the Education System in terms of key themes that transected this national dialogue. Appropriately, the conference was framed by four presentations in Plenary Session 1 that set the scene for subsequent discussions. The Right Hon Nahas Angula, Prime Minister of the Republic of Namibia, traced the genesis and evolution of Post-Independence Education. Presenting a pedagogically and philosophically grounded argument, the presentation engaged the construct of Education for Liberation and located this within the structural features of the Namibian political economy and the role of education in transforming it, so as to deepen social equity and justice, while responding to the economic and social capital needs of the 21 st Century. Recommendations: The transformative role of education, however, would not be realized unless two key considerations are met. These are: (1) Innovative, accountable, leadership at all levels of the system; and (2) Value for money. In respect of the first, innovative, accountable leadership, performance contracts would ensure both vertical and horizontal accountability and would strengthen policy implementation. Value for money, should be improved by both qualifications and performance outputs into enhanced productive skills of the populace. Proceeding from a historiography of education prior to independence, Prof. Joseph Diescho, argued that colonial education focused on formal education and linked this to certification. Ushered in by missionary education, formal education was not intellectually nor culturally driven, consequently it rendered students and learners as non-persons. The presentation emphasized that this problem was not unique to Namibia, but an African problem that required African solutions. The pervasive pedagogy was that of the oppressed, and this resulted in selfdoubt, self-hate and the absence of self-definition, self-knowledge and validity. Recommendation In coming to a conclusion, the presentation emphasized the importance of grounding education in a people/learner-centered pedagogy that values and celebrates learners and students in their cognitive, cultural- and affective worlds. Prof. Dzingai Mutumbuka, President of ADEA, offered an audit of the Namibian Education System, with special emphasis on school enrolment, learning outcomes and the key factors that impact upon quality learning outcomes. Harnessing the metaphor of the elephant in the kraal, indiscipline and the absence of a healthy work ethic among teachers were identified as two Resolutions and the Way Forward Page 1 of 12

2 principal concerns. These contribute to lower levels of nominal learning and the erosion of accountability. Recommendations These concerns are national, and would require an integrated national response. The final contribution that set the scene came from an EU representative that provided international perspectives on education. This presentation emphasized the primacy of the social dimensions of education and its linkages to poverty reduction, enhancing the quality of life and supporting upward social mobility. Recommendations For education to achieve the above social outcomes, however, it is imperative to value education as a key social investment, to build alliances with other social sectors such as health and agriculture, to have inclusive strategies that respond to marginal communities and students with special needs, and, finally, to engage in an ongoing inter-sectoral dialogue on how best to enhance the social impact of education. LEGISLATION SECTION The plenary on Aligning Legislation, Governance and Management raised the legacy of historic legislation that reflected the inequities of segregation in the colonial era. While the post-independence era has seen the introduction of a raft of enabling legislation to further education at all levels in accordance with the Namibian constitution, the following proposals for reinforcement are noteworthy: 1. All such legislation ought to make explicit the link between education as improving human capital and economic development, which is true currently of just two Acts 2. Decentralisation of primary, secondary and special needs education to the regions needs to be speeded up. 3. In a digital age, mention needs to be explicitly made in legislation to ICTs, such as regulating the prices of computers imported for education purposes. 4. Special education needs to be covered specifically under the Education Act and the Vocational Education and Training Acts. 5. Lifelong learning has to be further operationalized through addressing inequities, what is to be learnt, how this is to be funded, how learning is to be done, and how its outcomes measured. 6. Law alone cannot achieve education outcomes unless the policy is popularised through the entire community. The Conference put forward the following recommendations on Funding Education: 1. Establish a procedural framework for budgeting utilizing available data and information; Resolutions and the Way Forward Page 2 of 12

3 2. Prioritise funding of educational programmes linked to national social & economic needs, labour market requirements and the promotion of entrepreneurship; 3. Prioritise recruitment and retention of quality teachers and lecturers and provide adequate funding as incentive for excellent teacher performance; 4. Distribute resources equitably and according to national priorities; 5. Introduce an efficient auditing and reporting system to improve scrutiny of how allocated resources are spent, enforce accountability and identify wastage. 6. Demand accountability and penalize wastage of resources in the educational system. HUMAN RESOURCES From the Plenary Session on Human Resource preparation, recruitment, competence, career development and incentives, we note a number of proposals: 1. Teachers and principals need to be ascribed higher status in our society through professionalization 2. Higher points should be required to qualify to study in the Faculty of Education. 3. Recruitment of teachers should include not only academic grades achieved but also values 4. Funds should be invested in the development of teachers in soft skills as well as hard skills. The Conference made a large number of recommendations regarding quality outputs on ETSIP; Early Childhood Education and Pre-Primary Education, General Education and HIV/AIDS. ETSIP The evaluation of ETSIP has just taken place. This demonstrated that a large number of achievements had been recorded, particularly in the area of policy making and institution building. Nevertheless, the Conference noted that there were some implementation challenges, particularly in terms of the achievement of higher quality learning achievements. The Conference recommended that the many achievements of ETSIP must be maintained, and that these will form the foundation for the Ministry s future work. Participants confirmed that the programme should be implemented as planned. Early Childhood Education (ECD) and Pre-Primary Education (PPE) The ECD database must be developed. Because responsibility for ECD/ PPE is divided between two Ministries, there is a serious problem of adequate coordination. The Conference recommended holding joint planning meetings. Demonstration centres must be established in different Regions. The Conference unanimously recommended that the budget for ECD and PPE must be increased. Resolutions and the Way Forward Page 3 of 12

4 Children must be taught through the mother tongue at this early stage in order to establish a sound foundation for all future learning. A partnership for ECD must be established between Government, the private sector, communities and development partners to increase investment in ECD. A special national fund should be established for ECD. ECD and PPE teachers must receive professional training. These teachers must be provided with adequate teaching materials. ECD infrastructures must be increased and improved and should be constructed to be inclusive for children and caregivers with special needs Equitable Access to Quality Education The following recommendations were advanced to improve the quality of education: The school curriculum should be revised to make it more relevant and flexible; In order to improve the pass rates of learners, General Education study to determine the effectiveness of current in-service teacher development efforts. Assessment methodologies for learning outcomes, implementation of learning materials, needs assessment, design and implementation of national literacy assessment are needed. The monitoring of the teaching of all subjects as specified in the curriculum by inspectors of education, advisory teachers, school principals and heads of departments must be intensified. A policy on promotion must be developed including revision of the promotion requirements for Grades 1 to 11. The automatic promotion policy must be reviewed, and must be replaced by learner support programmes to assist failing students to reach the required level of achievement for each grade. All learners must be provided with psycho-social support services. The digital revolution has made computer education an integral part of the curriculum. The changes have transformed the global as well as regional economy. The Conference recommended that the use of ICTs be integrated into the education processes. The Conference recommended that the Ministry consider separating primary and secondary education into separate sub-programmes in order to enhance efficiency. The Conference observed that discipline, both of teachers and learners, posed a problem in many schools, and has a negative impact on the quality of education provided in some schools. The following resolutions were made: The location of cuca shops and shebeens selling alcohol and playing loud music in close proximity to schools provide temptations for misbehaviour by both teachers and learners. The Conference recommended that legal steps be taken to prevent further proliferation of these shops, with rules to ensure that they cannot be located close to schools. Resolutions and the Way Forward Page 4 of 12

5 There is a high absenteeism rate by teachers, as high as a third of the number of school days in a year by the worst offenders. Time on task or the amount of time spent on learning and on homework is the most important contributor to quality learning. These learners do poorly or even fail as a result because their teachers are not there. Steps will be taken to halt this lack of discipline in some schools. There is also indiscipline among learners in some schools. This is due to some extent to a loss of moral values in the society. The Conference recommended greater involvement of parents and communities in school activities, so that problems could be resolved collaboratively. Provision of laboratories, libraries and other school facilities is to be increased. Appropriate maintenance of existing facilities must be consistently undertaken. Provision of appropriate teachers housing should have priority and should be financed via various schemes, including direct national budget, public private partnerships, HIV/AIDS The Conference acknowledged that the Ministry s HIV/AIDS management unit (HAMU) was not highly successful, and recommended the following: The restructuring of HAMU and reconsideration of its mandate. The disaggregation of HIV/AIDS data. Leadership in Education The Conference recommended Public Private Partnerships for all areas of education, particularly for ECD and technical vocational training. The need for increased and improved technical and vocational training was highlighted by many private sector leaders and traditional leaders. They were particularly concerned about the provision of internships and apprenticeships for trainees. The Conference recommended that the private sector could also contribute to providing scholarships and bursaries to university and polytechnic students, particularly those from deprived rural areas. Such an input can enhance productivity in both industry and in rural development. Principals were appointed into leadership and management positions without receiving specific training for such responsibilities. The Conference recommended continuous in-service training for principals. The Conference adopted the following recommendations on Higher Education: A management information system (HEMIS) must be established to inform funding, access and equity policies and planning in Higher Education; A procedural framework for budgeting must be established which: - prioritises the funding of educational programmes according to the extent to which they address national social and economic needs, labour market requirements, promote innovation and entrepreneurship; Resolutions and the Way Forward Page 5 of 12

6 - Allocates adequate financial resources for recruitment and retention of best academic staff and for regular training and retraining of academic staff; - Ensures equitable distribution of resources according to national priorities; - employs an efficient reporting system which allows scrutiny of how allocated resources are spent, enforces accountability and identifies wastage. Policies and mechanisms must be adopted to coordinate and harmonise secondary and tertiary level curricula; Mechanisms must be established to ensure cooperation and synergy between HE institutions and to coordinate their activities and programmes, in accordance with national development priorities and industry requirements; The capital budget for development of infrastructure and procurement of equipment must be significantly increased to address the serious shortage of space and inadequate facilities and equipment in Higher Education institutions; The national research council comprised of key stakeholders must be established and charged to identify and drive research priorities A range of incentives, financial and otherwise, must be introduced to reward and encourage excellent teacher performance; A dedicated national fund should be established to fund HE staff development at postgraduate level; Transparent Management Performance systems must be agreed, introduced and enforced to improve the quality of management at all levels of education, including HE; HE institution expansion programmes should focus on the regions; New HE institutions should be considered where existing capacity is unable to accommodate future growth; Government and private sector resources should be engaged to provide adequate and affordable hostel facilities for students; Attractive incentives (such as tax breaks) must be introduced to encourage the private sector to partner with HE Institutions and contribute resources to the sub-sector; An equitable HE funding formula must be finalised and gazetted as soon as possible; Free internet bandwidth should be provided to increase ICT usage in the HE sector; Adequate funding should be made available to expand, decentralise and address inequitable access to ICT and library services, especially in the regions; Free Higher Education should be introduced as soon as is feasible, with due regard to industry needs and employment opportunities; Resolutions and the Way Forward Page 6 of 12

7 Every effort should be made to secure financial assistance, in the form of NSFAF loans and bursaries and from other sources such as the private sector, for every admitted HE student. Information on the availability of such assistance should be distributed to all communities; Regional councils to be involved in Government student funding allocations; Distance education should be expanded. NSSC Higher should be introduced in all schools and teachers trained accordingly to ensure school leavers meet HE admission requirements and obviate the expense and need for institutional bridging programmes; Articulation between HE and VET qualifications must be established Consideration should be given to shifting funding focus from intuitions to student funding based on programme responsiveness to national needs. The Session on ICT pointed out the need to provide ICT facilities to all to all teachers. Participants were informed of a dire current situation and received extensive proposals for action: 1. Equipping teacher resource centres and library-information facilities using the present cluster system initially till there is greater deployment of ICTs 2. Ensure high-speed and free internet connections in all schools, with bandwidth improved by 2012 with Telecom as partner 3. On-site training of teachers to encourage their incorporation of ICTs in all subjects, not just a separate ICT subject 4. Technologies need to be explored for learners with special needs, as well as those in remote areas to access ICT. 5. We need to look at better utilising ICT that is already in the hands of teachers and learners, namely the mobile phone 6. Television sets linked to a laptop should be explored as a cost-effective interim measure 7. The use of solar energy to support the use of ICT in the classroom in rural areas needs to be seriously looked into. 8. ICT literacy should be a requirement for certification of teachers and their performance appraisal in future. Teachers need to be kept abreast of new developments in ICT. 9. The Ministry of Education should consider a subsidy to teachers to buy their own laptops. 10. One target at which we should aim is one laptop per teacher, and one computer per classroom, perhaps sourced from businesses upgrading their ICTs. Resolutions and the Way Forward Page 7 of 12

8 The way forward on Vocational Education and Life Long Learning 1 Streamline procedures for curriculum review in response to industry s feedback and incorporate indigenous knowledge into Vocational Training programmes. 2 Formalize Industry and work place training and promote synergies between public and private Vocational Education and Training. 3 Introduce a comprehensive National Human Resource Development plan to guide training and priorities. 4 Ensure that the National Training Fund and Training Levy cater for all training needs including requirements of Small and Medium Enterprises. 5 Improve human capacity in Adult Education and strengthen its leadership in regions. 6 Expand and strengthen resource capacities of Community Learning Development Centres and sensitize Community Leaders to take ownership of these centres. 7 Increase funding for Adult Education and Open and Distance Learning (ODL) and encourage research and capacity building for Lifelong Learning. 8 Finalise and implement the national ODL policy and develop advocacy strategies for ODL. 9 Expand the scope of ODL and maximise the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in ODL. 10 Strengthen Library and Archives infrastructure, ICT and human resources capacities. I will brief His Excellency, The President of the Republic of Namibia on the outcomes of this conference and request his guidance with regard to tabling these to Cabinet. Resolutions and the Way Forward Page 8 of 12

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