Invest in Human Gems [opinion]

EDUCATION is the key to success for an individual, the family, a community, for an entire nation and even for mankind as a whole.

It opens doors for people of any background and provides a better quality of life for families, alleviates poverty in a community, positions a nation to accelerate its civil and economic development, and fosters international cooperation.

To secure a job, a skill is needed and that skill is acquired through education. A job is needed to climb the first step of that ladder of career success.

Through education individuals learn to interact with one another. This in turn raises civil awareness and encourages participation in community activity. Resultantly, a solid foundation is laid for development of a democratic society and a g economy.

The importance of education is well recognised and accepted in Namibia. Academic achievement is acknowledged from kindergarten through primary and secondary schooling to tertiary level. This is done at prize givings and by bestowment of certificates, diplomas and degrees at graduation ceremonies of vocational training centres and colleges or universities.

Parents generally take education seriously and understandably so. Any parent wants their children to have a better life. Mommies and Daddies, sometimes even with a grandparent in tow, will queue for hours at a school to enroll their offspring.

The importance of education is also underscored at political leadership level. A recent news item quotes Minister of Education, David Namwandi, as urging scholars and students to work hard from day one.

Commercial gain is made from this focus on education. Back-to-school aerts dominate the media. In retail outlets all over the country one has to navigate one’s way around displays of school uniforms and shoes, bags, pens and rulers, lunch boxes and cooldrink bottles.

Innovatively an entrepreneurial couple engaged in the tailoring business even set up shop on the pavement in front of a school uniform supplier in Windhoek, offering on-the-spot alterations so that garments bought fit snugly.

The importance of developing Namibia’s human gems is widely accepted, but who has the responsibility?

Education is defined as the process of teaching and learning. With a widespread buy-in that education is indeed the key to success in life, surely it then naturally follows that learning and teaching is a responsibility shared by all?

The first responsibility to educate their children must surely rest with the parents. Youngsters must constantly be reminded that there is a time to work and a time to play. To learn, students must work diligently and not be afraid to ask, probe and enquire. If you don’t understand, ask. It’s all part of that learning process.

Teaching is a profession that comes with great responsibility. It is a process that facilitates learning for students to meet curriculum outcomes, helps them develop values and guides on social relationships. Students have differing characters and levels of comprehension. Teaching is challenging so teachers must be appropriately recognised and rewarded.

Business too must invest in the country’s human capital. Not merely corporates and parastatals, but established family-owned firms too.

Impressively last year’s winner of a business growth recognition competition run by the Development Bank of Namibia routinely allocates a portion of profit to support educational development. The emerging entrepreneur supports the schools he attended and additionally funds scholarships for youngsters in the community.

The lion’s share Namibia’s budget has annually been allocated to education – granted the responsible ministry often attracts criticism for not always spending funds wisely. Shortly new parliamentarians will be sworn in. The lawmakers must commit to continued investment in education and thereby in the human gems of Namibia.

Source : The Namibian