Hamoroke nawa! (That means good morning in Thimbukushu, the language spoken in my village.) I just posted some pictures of school assembly, so I thought I'd tell you a bit about schools in Namibia.
The school year starts in January and ends around Thanksgiving. There are three terms and three long holidays: one month in April/May, two weeks in August, and six weeks in December/January. The learners attend school starting at age six. There is no kindergarten in Namibia, although there are pre-schools in most large towns and cities. School starts at about 7:30 a.m. and lets out around 1:00 p.m. Many schools have mandatory study times in the afternoon.
Learners are instructed in their mother tongue (Thimbukushu in my area) from grade 1 to 4. At grade 5, all subjects are taught in English, Namibia's official language. Namibia has an interesting promotion rule; if learners do not pass the exams at the end of the year, they repeat the grade. They can only fail a grade twice before they are automatically passed on to the next grade.
Some of the challenges that the school system faces are a lack of qualified motivated teachers, lack of organization from the top down in the system, and lack of resources for the learners (i.e. electricity & water for schools, books & school supplies, desks & chairs).
Thursday, May 17, 2007
I am a Peace Corps volunteer working as a teacher trainer in Namibia. Namibia is a beautiful country in southern Africa - there are deserts in the south, lush forests in the north and dramatic coastline along the entire western border. I live in a very small village in the Kavango region, 200 kilometers east of Rundu (the largest town in the Kavango). I have already seen much of the country and will continue to post pictures of the amazing places I visit. I look forward to your comments but don't get discouraged if you don't hear from me in a while - reliable internet access is not always available here.