My research as an educator strongly indicate that the absence of Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) studies in lower Grades (4-7) and in some secondary schools across the country is a disadvantage to our learners and robs them of much-needed skills and survival tools in this modern world of the 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR), narrowing in some instances, their employability chances.
The need for the early exposure of our learner community to the 4IR cannot be overemphasized as evident in speeches of most, if not all, national political leaders and I concur that this notion should be highly adhered to and implemented without any further delay.
As an active, revolutionary and progressive young CC&Political Bereau member of the mighty SWAPO Party i call upon the vigorous inclusion of ICT studies in the school curriculum and the subsequent provision off a laptop on every child’s desk in lieu of the one-child – one laptop mantra.
At secondary school level, I discovered that most of our learners who are unsuccessful in Grades 10 or 11 end up in the streets without any practical experiences. Most of these learners have to resort to scavenging for jobs in restaurants, hotels, bars, super markets which are all of late operated and administered on automated machines and technological implements for which they lack basic operational knowledge at the time of leaving school.
This status quo has incarcerated a big number of our people in the claws and chains of unemployment due a lack of computer literacy, while only creating a window of opportunity for those limited few with money and who are able to undergo computer courses and obtain a certificate.
Those who proceed to tertiary level are then forced to take up computer lessons as a compulsory subject. I am pleased to indicate that nowadays, institutions of higher learning have improved on this score and students are expected to apply, study and submit assignments online as well as take quizzes online through using LMS.
Therefore, I maintain that it is high time for our basic education to look deep and frankly into this and establish a computer lab at every government school in Namibia to enhance ICT education at all levels of education.
This will boost our leaners’ cognitive development and open many doors for the future for many of them after the completion of their basic education phase as far as 4IR is concerned.
Technology is growing every day and our education system must move with the current developments in order to face the current economic challenges within the globe village. Namibia is not an Island but a country whose economic growth is hooked, linked and connected to other countries in world space.
I am calling upon the Ministry of Basic Education, Arts and Culture, Ministry of Information Communication and Technology and the Ministry of Mines and Energy to coordinate the implementation of computer labs in every school in Namibia as from the primary phase. ICT teachers must leave the streets and get employment to give quality computer education to our children.
We are currently talking about green hydrogen, with the inclusion of chemical renewable energy. How are we going to achieve this goal without importing human resources from other countries to run our industries while we have our own people who are not empowered in this direction? For how long will our country keep on hiring foreigners to run our industries? The answer is simple, we need to educate our own people for the safety and security of this country as our security is at stake and becoming a threat to our own citizens.
It is my hope we learn more from negative impacts which emanated from the COVID-19 dark cloud and recently the war between Russia and Ukraine, if not than we will never learn.
It is time for Namibia to vigorously campaign for economic empowerment practically but not just rhetorically. UNAM and NUST are the only big government institutions to turn Namibia into a paradise by giving quality education to our students.
Time has arrived to come out of our comfort zone and think critically on how our natural resources should benefit all Namibians and develop this country for self-sustainability and self-reliance. We need to start producing our own medicine, we need to think critically of our marine resources through marine science as a subject, global research, engineering in all fields and blue economy to sustain ourselves and become self-sufficient and depending on our own resources that is our gift of nature from God.
We need to cut more of our imports and start producing our own goods to feed our own people and for employment purposes. We need to produce our own expertise in different areas of needs and cut on foreign hiring and this will save the last dollar we have as well. We need to expand our industries to accommodate our unemployed graduates, we need to vigorously address inequality and equal distribution of our natural resources to alleviate poverty in our land.
The newly revised curriculum for basic education will come at cost. Teachers need to be trained, materials need to be developed, and laboratories need to be furnished with teaching and learning resources. More blocs of classrooms are also needed. Therefore, there is a need to plan prudently so that we ensure the limited financial resources we have caters for the fore-listed needs.
Our children want a future that is promising. One critical thing that we are calling for is the protection of infant industries to enable local entrepreneurs to flourish. We propose that support should be given to young entrepreneurs to manufacture chairs, tables, school uniforms, chalks and other education resources. These, we believe, could swell entrepreneurial acumen in many young people.
Issued by: Hofni Iipinge
Swapo Party CC & Political Bureau Member