TUN supports peaceful resolution of education challenges

Niël Terblanché

The Teachers Union of Namibia (TUN) has thrown its support behind the Ministry of Education, Arts, and Culture’s efforts to encourage teachers and principals to resolve challenges within the education sector amicably.

The TUN’s Secretary General, Mahongora Kavihuha, expressed his agreement with the Ministry’s Executive Director, Sanet Steenkamp, who emphasized the detrimental impact of divisions in schools on the overall effectiveness of educational institutions.

Kavihuha cited a troubling example of a school in the northern region, where approximately 70 percent of teachers, including the principal, have faced charges of misconduct.

“Regrettably, the issue remains unresolved, underscoring the urgency for a collaborative approach in addressing such concerns,” he said.

As the new school year commenced Steenkamp called upon teachers to imbue excitement and empathy into their interactions with first-time schoolgoers.

She encouraged them to instil a strong work ethic from the very beginning of a student’s educational journey.

Steenkamp stressed the pivotal role that educators play as the first and most influential role models in children’s lives and urged them to wield their authority positively, avoiding any misuse of professional power.

“In every classroom and subject, we must ensure that each child acquires the necessary competencies. We must address ill-discipline and bullying, fostering an environment of respect,” Steenkamp stated, emphasizing the responsibility of shaping the characters of future leaders that teachers bear.

However, amidst these calls for unity and improved educational standards, the results of the 2023 ordinary and advanced subsidiary level exams released by the education ministry have shown only marginal progress.

While acknowledging some improvements in the national results, Kavihuha expressed dissatisfaction with the overall performance, suggesting that celebration might not be warranted.

Education minister, Anna Nghipondoka recently revealed that 75 percent of learners did not meet the required marks to pursue tertiary studies. Additionally, only a slight increase of three percent more learners qualified for university enrollment than the previous year.

On the matter of the revised high school curriculum, Kavihuha voiced TUN’s opposition to allowing learners to exit school at Grade 11, deeming it too early in their development.

He also clarified TUN’s stance on performance agreements that school principals, directors, and inspectors are required to sign with teachers.

“While TUN does not object to the concept of performance agreements, we call on the government to address TUN’s demands before implementing them,” he said.

Kavihuha acknowledged that challenges exist and expressed the hope that the shared commitment to resolving them will lead to improvements in the education sector.

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