WINDHOEK: The Swapo Party Youth League (SPYL) has rapped Government over the knuckles for the apparent slow pace of development in the rural areas, especially where education is concerned.
Schools in rural areas made headlines over the past few years for dilapidated school infrastructure, a dire need for better hostel accommodation as learners in some schools were reported to be sleeping on barren floors, and for not having enough toilet facilities for learners, amongst a host of other problems.
The Swapo young lions, as the youth league members often refer to themselves as, have resolved to lobby Government to build more schools in order to reduce travelling distances of learners to schools.
The SPYL, in some of its recommendations concerning education adopted at the heels of the youth league’s fifth national congress which took place in the capital last weekend, said school infrastructure in rural areas also require urgent intervention.
The youth league dedicated the better part of the congress resolutions to education, calling in general for a better education system and the streamlining of education policies to properly address existing challenges.
“Congress calls upon Government to speed up the upgrading of existing school infrastructure. As a necessary adjunct, maintenance offices should be set up to facilitate and speed up the maintenance of existing infrastructure,” reads a resolution of the congress.
The SPYL wants schools in the rural areas to be equipped with modern laboratories that have the potential to support research activities of learners, as well as support learners’ researching skills at an early age.
Basic computer classes should also be offered across the board in all schools in Namibia, while Namibian history should be taught in greater detail and standardised in the school curriculum, the SPYL resolved.
On tertiary education, the youth league called for the streamlining of Namibia’s tertiary qualifications with National Qualification Authority (NQA) requirements, adding that professional qualifications obtained in former socialist countries also ought to be recognised.
The Ministry of Education drafted a holistic and comprehensive strategy for the education sector in 2006, the Education and Training Sector Improvement Programme (ETSIP). As a reform programme, ETSIP aligns the entire education system towards the needs of the 21st century and Namibia’s Vision 2030.
Such good intentions have seemingly only remained on paper as critics argue that the curriculum is overloaded with too many subjects and lacked clear standards; while the shortage of schoolbooks and the fact that a large number of schools still have no permanent classrooms worsen the situation.
The country’s education system has also borne the brunt of continuous blame, as many argue that the learner-centered approach utilised by the system places more emphasis on the ability of the learner to grasp detail as opposed to the erstwhile South African Cape Education System, which placed such responsibility sorely on the shoulders of the teacher.