Adult education practitioners fed up

Challenges faced by adult educators highlighted at first national conference

05 November 2018 | Education

WALVISBAY





Leandrea Louw - The secretary general of the Teachers Union of Namibia (TUN), Mahogora Kaivihuhu, highlighted a number of challenges faced by adult education educators at the first ever national conference on adult education.

“Literacy is not about the ability to read and write anymore. We need to make lifelong learning programmes in Namibia dynamic and responsive. Subjects covered in this curriculum are irrelevant to a student nowadays. The world is changing and developing and we need to develop as well.

“It is time to inform the authority that gone are the days thinking literacy is only about reading and writing. It is important for us to transform. We need to assess the level of adult education programmes in our country.

“We cannot be informed by people sitting in air-conditioned offices and receiving fat cheques claiming they know what is better than those operating at ground level. We created this platform for all practitioners from the various regions to debate and engage on the challenges faced by adult education educators. We are going to do self-introspection and then tell the government what we want.”

Earlier this year, adult educators had a peaceful demonstration in Windhoek, and boycotted literacy week. They felt they are being treated unfairly by the ministry of education compared to their colleagues in formal education.

“Gone are the days when we received directions from top management. Everything should be done from grassroots level up. We are saying no to this approach. When there is a policy to be developed, it must be shared so that practitioners can have an input in it. We have observed that the adult education division is dominated by people from formal education who know little about adult education. ”

Kaivihuhu also emphasised that the adult education teachers were not consulted in the draft of the Education Bill and said TUN and the Namibia National Teachers Union (Nantu) signed an agreement recently to request the relevant committee of parliament to engage the adult education practitioners on the education bill.

“Under the bill there is a component talking about adult education, yet none of the practitioners were consulted. Through this conference we will draft resolutions on what we want to include in the bill. ”

He said that adult education promoters need to push to have their contracts extended to February 2019.

“The fact that you are appointed on a 10-month contract is illegal. Some people who are less qualified receive a higher salary than those who have bachelors and masters degrees in education. This is why some regions like the Omusati region tried to deter you from attending the conference, because you were going to unearth this nonsense. We are truly fed up with individuals in the education directorate, specifically the adult education division of the Omusati region. They are foolish to think they can stop the practitioners from attending the conference”.

Kaivihuhu also mentioned that the Labour Act is currently being amended to add two sections to the act and said the Trade Union Congress of Namibia (Tucna) wants solidarity and economic strikes to be recognised.

“If adult educators want to strike, primary school teachers can also apply to strike with you in solidarity. With the fuel increase, and our government practicing poor economic planning, we just cannot suffer in silence. This is why we are demanding that the right to an economic strike must also be recognised.”

Paulus Hango, president of Tucna, condemned employees working on a temporary or contractual basis.

“Numerous workers are subjected to work without a proper contract and without proper benefits like medical aid. We need to fight for our rights. We have the right to be protected and heard.”

He urged that the ministry of education to extend the adult education programme.

“There are countless Namibians sitting at home, without a job, because they cannot read or write: This need to change.”

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