Namibia Scrapes Bottom On Global Maths and Science Rankings

Namibia’s global ranking on the quality of mathematics and science education slipped to the bottom, according to the World Economic Forum (WEF) report released in April.

The quality of mathematics and science education in Namibia places the country at position 128 out of 148 countries the report states. The quality of Namibia’s educational system is ranked 118, while the country’s information and communication technology ranking slipped from position 111 to the current 105. The report, under the skill sub-category, noted that the quality of science and mathematics in the country lingers at the bottom of the pack, amplifying constant concerns in the country over the lack of quality teaching in the mathematics and science fields. Reacting to the report the Secretary General of the Namibia National Teacher’s Union (Nantu), Basilius Haingura, in an interview with New Era yesterday described the ranking as a cause for serious concern. “It is worrisome, especially to us because we represent the teachers. The problem we have in the country is the fact that we do not have sufficient human resources to manage maths and science. It is time we identify priority areas and send some of our teachers out of the country for quality training so that we can have a powerful teaching force,” he said.

The report, released in April this year, further noted that Namibia’s adult literacy rate stands at 95 percent, better than that of some African education powerhouses such as Nigeria, Zimbabwe and South Africa. The WEF’s annual publication – ‘Global Information Technology Report 2014′ – uses a networked readiness index (NRI) to rank the state of countries’ information and communication technology positions. Namibia is placed 105th on the NRI, which is made up of 10 different sub-categories from which the overall NRI ranking is taken, compared to last year when it was ranked at position 111. The WEF publishes reports such as the Global Competitiveness Report, the Global Risks Report and the Global Gender Gap Report. And also produces several titles covering the environment, education, individual industries and technologies. Haingura welcomed government’s initiative to formulate plans to make mathematics compulsory for all learners in the country, but expressed concern over the lack of mathematics teachers. “Before we implement these things we must make sure that we prepare the human resources, otherwise we might end up wasting other resources that could have been used for other things,” he said. By making mathematics compulsory, Haingura says it will create an impression that mathematics is more important than other subjects.

“This should not be the case because all the subjects and fields are required to develop the country, mathematics alone cannot develop this country. Mathematics is important but we are saying that all subjects should be regarded as equally important,” he said.

Source : New Era