To some, the fact that Namibia boasted an 86% primary school completion rate after just fifteen years of independence is cause for celebration. And, it is – the education system could have been much worse off. However, to others (including the Namibian government), the rosiness of this statistic is superficial; the poor quality of this education contributed to pervasive societal shortcomings. And, although students finished primary school, they were not moving on to secondary school.
Impressively, however, Namibia had the strength to recognize the weakness of its educational system. The government (along with partners) created the Education and Training Sector Improvement Programme (ETSIP) to contribute to the creation of a knowledge-based economy. TECH/NA! represents the Ministry of Education’s ICT component of the larger plan.
Created by the Namibian Ministry of Education in 2007, Tech/NA! is an ICTs in Education Initiative designed to equip institutions, educate teachers and learners, and empower whole communities. The name itself is great for a couple of reasons:
- resembles “techno”
- uses an exclamation mark
- the two parts represent the bridging of the digital divide amongst institutions and communities
Plus, the logo perfectly embodies the power of togetherness. The site itself provides a bevy of Namibian ICT information including the steps needed to bolster education for all Namibians. The first steps of establishing leadership and defining components of the initiative took place from 2006-2009. During this time, ICTs were deployed in teacher education institutions, secondary schools, and community skills development centers. In 2009, the program extended Tech/NA! concepts to libraries, adult education schools, and primary schools.
Tech/NA! is still in the early stages and the lasting benefits of ICTs in education may not show in other sectors for a few years. Namibia, like most African nations, faces a rapidly growing population. In fact, as Namibia’s population has grown from 2 million in 2005 to nearly 2.5 million in 2009, the primary school completion rate has dropped from 86% to 80% (World Bank Development Indicators). Has the quality of education increased at a rate greater than the decrease in primary school completion? Most likely, and Namibia is fortunate to have such a sound ICTs in education plan.
-Read Namibia’s Vision 2030 plan (5mb with 25kb/s download speed from server).
-Browse PDF manuals on such topics as “Use Internet and email applications” and “Perform basic word processing”.