Rössing Foundation has been working in partnership with the relevant education ministry (currently the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture) since Namibia’s Independence in 1990. This partnership’s activities include strengthening the capacity of teachers and learners; implementing leadership and management programmes; resource sharing; and exchanging expertise between the two partners.
The critical issues of poor learner performance generally coupled with low rates of success in formal qualifications at high school and tertiary levels are symptomatic of an education system that does not prepare learners adequately to meet the challenges of the ever- changing world of work. Furthermore, the negative perception that Mathematics and the Sciences are difficult subjects only to be attempted by clever learners discourages many from taking these subjects at Higher Level, restricting their career options subsequently.
In addition, in some instances, principals or teachers are not adequately prepared to deal with Higher Level subject teaching of Mathematics or the Sciences and thus tend to discourage learners to take these subjects on Higher Level, depriving the learners from the opportunity to further their studies on tertiary level. Proficiency in the English language continues to be a challenge as well. It is therefore imperative that Rössing Foundation focuses most of our support on teachers and not only on learners.
To address the education challenges facing Namibia, the Rössing Foundation assists the Government of Namibia through the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture in offering opportunities to teachers and learners to acquire subject content knowledge in order to improve their competencies in English, Mathematics and the Sciences.
The Rössing Foundation’s operations are based on two models: centre-based activities and outreach programmes. As part of this effort, the Rössing Foundation built and operates three education centres, located in the towns of Arandis and Swakopmund in the Erongo Region, and in Ondangwa in the Oshana Region.
Centre-based activities take place at these three sites, which contain Science laboratories, Mathematics and English language learning programmes, and a library. These centres are equipped with state-of-the-art facilities and equipment that support education curriculum delivery and personal professional development.
In addition to the three centres, in 2015 the Rössing Foundation initiated an innovative undertaking — the introduction of the Rössing Foundation Mobile Laboratory. This van, fully equipped with the necessary materials and equipment, will be the first of three to travel to outlying areas of the country. This will greatly benefit rural schools whose learners cannot afford to travel the long distances to the Rössing Foundation centres.
The centres and the mobile laboratory serve as hubs for our support programmes, not only for teachers and learners but also for the communities they service as well.
The outreach programme aims at providing school-based teachers’ professional development programmes and learner support activities, as well as engagement initiatives with school boards and other stakeholders.