Namibia: Disadvantaged Students to Interact Via Internet
The British Council in consultation with the Ministry of Education has introduced an internet programme that will enable Namibian students to interact with British students on educational matters.
During a recent interview with New Era, the British Council Country Director in Namibia Dr Becky Ndjoze-Ojo said they are working towards connecting Namibian schools to the Global School Programme of the British Council through the Ministry of Education. So far school principals in the Khomas, Karas, Hardap, Erongo, Omaheke and Otjozondjupa regions have already been trained on the project during a leadership workshop that took place in Windhoek last week, while principals from the Oshana, Oshikoto, Omusati, Ohangwena, Kavango and Caprivi regions are currently going through the same training.
Although the programme is relatively new, about 12 schools have already been connected through this new initiative called 'Connecting Classrooms', which is aimed at sharing best practices among schools in order to improve the quality of education in Namibia.
"Three Namibian schools would be connected online using similar criteria. And once that is done we will connect these schools to three other schools in Botswana and thereafter to three others in the UK," explained Ndjoze-Ojo.
The latest schools to benefit from the 'Connecting Classrooms' project are Nowak Primary School at Tses in the Karas Region, Nossob Primary School at Witvlei in the Omaheke Region and Moses //Garoeb Primary School in the informal settlement of Hakahana in Windhoek.
"When we select the schools, we always look at criteria. This year's criterion is that the school must be very much disadvantaged. The schools must be very, very disadvantaged in a sense that the children at that school must be from marginalised communities. For Example, we selected Witvlei because we learnt in the newspapers that learners were going to dumping grounds to collect food to eat and we felt that these children needed to be strengthened and supported," said Ndjoze-Ojo.
Apart from the schools that were connected, the British Council is also providing other schools with information on how to reach out to other schools online and to connect to the web through the 'Connecting Classrooms' project. "For example if you have a very good mathematics teacher in one school, they can connect with another school online to share best practices and experiences," explained Ndjoze-Ojo.
She said although the British Council will provide computers and internet connectivity to selected schools, government will have to make an effort to ensure that schools are equipped with electricity.
"We as the British Council are not really responsible for providing electricity to rural schools, nationally. But we hope that the ministry is reaching out in the best way possible to make sure that schools have access to electricity. And I think the ministry is working hard on that. But we cannot roll out nationally, we roll out according to our budget," she said.
Apart from the 'Connecting Classrooms' project, the British Council is also training thousands of school principals and education inspectors countrywide on management and leadership.
"Leadership and management is not necessarily the same thing. The leader should provide a vision for the school - he or she should provide direction, while managers manage activities geared toward that end."
According her, leadership provides vision and ensures that the visions are linked to the national vision, which is Vision 2030. "The kinds of learners or products that you are producing at your school depend on your leadership as the school principal," said Ndjoze-Ojo.