Value-Oriented Formal Education, a Need in Namibia

The high cases of rape, theft, suicide, passion killing, road accidents, alcohol abuse, divorce, unethical practices such as corruption, are manifestation of high failure rates in our schools. What are the major causes of all these evil activities? There is something that is a source of solutions to these national outcries, but that has been not paid attention: Value Education. Our education system is doing great, but does our education really bring about the desired behavioural change in our people’s lives?

Values can be defined as the ideas, beliefs and norms which the society or the majority of a society’s members hold. Values are the norms of right conduct and good intellectual and moral habits. Values are a fresh enunciation of human characters which can be shared by all and made operative in order to build human solidarity for greater justice and higher quality of life.

Values are classified into various groups, such as the main 16 classes: Aesthetic, Cultural, Citizenship, EconomicMaterial, Emotional, Ethical, Humanistic, IntellectualMental, Moral, National, Physical, Religious, Scientific, SocialSociological, Spiritual and Universal values respectively.

Out of 16 categories how many value classes do we experience in our formal and non-formal education system today? One may conclude that most of these values are taught at home, churches, through media and social eventsrogrammes which is referred to as informal education.

However, we should consider the current situation in our country. Do we have sufficient family supports for many studentslearners today? How many students avail themselves to churches and their teachings? I personally observed that we do not have sufficient family supports for many students. According to the 2011 Census Report there are households headed by children. In such a scenario, do we still expect any value teaching at home? There are a few students in our country who avail themselves to church teachings. The majority of students who have access to various modern media platforms do not bother to read, listen or pay attention to programmes with value education. This indicates that the informal education has failed and become weak to inculcate values among citizens, particularly the young ones.

Hence, formal education must come to the rescue if we really want to bring positive changes to the current situation in Namibia. Currently, we have subjects such as Life Skills and Religious amp Moral Education (RME). These subjects are not serving their intended purposes. In actual fact, the country has no teachers for these subjects. This is a result of ignorance and devaluation of these subjects as we believe that they are of no use as such things are taught through informal education. This resulted in our country producing a number of academic graduates who do not hold positive and acceptable social behaviour.

The formal education must take the responsibility of inculcating values among students in formal schools, colleges and up to universities. The idea is to revamp our formal national curriculum to strengthen the current Life Skills and RME to become compulsory subjects. It is only through compulsory teaching, compulsory assessments and examinations, that these subjects would be effective. The syllabus must contain the cultural, moral, emotional, ethical, religious, spiritual, humanistic, and social values.

Many people believe that values are not taught but come naturally through observation and listening to preaching and public speeches. However, in today’s world, one can talk, preach, give public lectures, but, if all these are not in the form of a subject and not taught in school by a teacher, no one would pay attention. I am not saying talks, preaching or public lectures are not important, but these must be supplements to what students learn in formal school. As long as the preaching, speeches, lectures or texts are not part of the students’ examination, they would have no effect in changing the majority of students in today’s Namibia.

Efforts by the Government to formalise the teachings of values would lead to peace, unity and freedom sustainability. These subjects must be taught by formally qualified teachers, and be compulsory in both public and private funded schools.

The government initiated the training of Life Skills teachers, which is applauded. Yet, the Life Skills syllabus is not of any use in helping to modify the students’ behaviour. The current syllabus teaches how to play games which is part of Physical Education, with Jigsaw Puzzles, which is in fact is a repetition of what students learn in languages. Nothing has been done to have teachers for RME which is significant for value education. The Life Skills syllabus must cater for some value categories mentioned above and the rest be covered in RME.

Source : New Era