Namibia National Teachers Union (NANTU) Secretary General, Basilius Haingura, says that the current economic hardship being experienced in the country is putting the quality of teachers’ work at risk.
He said this during an interview on World Teachers’ Day which is held annually on October 5.
The celebration aims to mobilise support for teachers, stimulate debate on all educational issues and to ensure that the educational needs of future generations will continue to be met by qualified and enthusiastic teachers.
Haingura said the Government made a big mistake by cutting the educational budget, adding that education is too important to receive insufficient resources.
“Education is a very important sector in our country and if we don’t have quality in education then we won’t have qualified people to help with the development of our country,” he said.
Haingura said due to the budget cuts, teachers now lack support services such as workshops and in-service training. He said previously, the Government hosted workshops for teachers that would improve their skills.
“These workshops were very informative for the teachers. Here they learned new skills and teaching techniques that helped them to be better teachers. Without these workshops many are losing out on gaining professional skills or having the opportunity to network with other teachers about techniques and solutions to commonly shared problems,” Haingura said.
He added that due to the economic crisis, teachers also don’t have money to pay for extra courses to expand their knowledge. “Teachers need to upgrade their skills and knowledge all the time, because they cannot continue teaching old things while the world keeps changing daily,” he highlighted.
Haingura also noted that the shortage of teaching equipment in schools was affecting the quality of education and the learners’ development.
“Leaners should not have to share textbooks. Each child should be able to take a book home for study or revise the day’s lessons as often as they need to. They need their own books to be better learners and students. The sharing of books is contributing to the failure rate,” he said.
He also said that the shortage of classrooms was a huge concern. Ideally, a primary school class must have 35 learners and a secondary school classroom should have 30 students, however, there are reports of classrooms with 50 learners.
“If classrooms are overloaded then both learners and teachers are affected. Teachers find it difficult to control these classrooms and learners feel stressed out and often lose focus. Classrooms must be a safe and comforting place,” Haingura said.
The union leader stressed that much more still needs to be done to improve the educational sector.
“If we don’t make things right, then our children in schools will suffer. How are teachers able to deliver good results without the proper resources?”