'What got us where we are now, won’t take us where we want to go' so says D. E. Nielson. Staying in one place, doing the same things in the same manner is a good recipe for stagnation and stunted growth.
Lack of progressive growth renders one to be obsolete in any front. Quitting becomes an easy way out. In the same vein, Education department is bringing in various reforms in pursuit of improving the quality and relevance of our education.
Hinge pin to the transformation agenda is the essence of integrating Information and Communication Technology in all processes including teaching and learning. Another significant change is the advent of a curriculum that emphasises skill acquisition as opposed to content acquisition. The hope is that this competence-based curriculum should inspire knowledge creation and application.
Key priorities as per the dictates of the education sector strategic plan 2020, serve as the guidelines for the Ministry of Basic Education, North West region. What comes out clear amongst the priorities is the wish for transforming to paperless work. The regional In-service unit is running after time to see to it that capacity building on ICT does occur in all schools. Most Primary schools in Maun Sub Region have been supplied with computers. Essentially the In-service unit is empowering teachers to research more on how to design a student centred lesson activity. In addition, teachers are encouraged to inculcate the idea of using technology to manage and disseminate data. Promoting e-learning is key priority under the Basic Education, and the north west region is responding accordingly.
The other key priority under the education strategy is to improve management of education. The gist being that reforms come with a need for change in mindset.
The comfort zone does not bring about any positive results in most cases. To address this need, north west region has empowered school leaders on instructional leadership. With the expertise of the Israelis, the region managed to train school heads on the latest models of leadership. The exercise was so practical and relevant to meeting the gaps prevailing in our learning institutions. For purposes of maximising the rewards of the training, cascading exercise is on-going in order to bring everyone on board. The region strongly believes that a leader is at the centre of any form of turnaround strategy.
The region is at the heart of the nation’s tourism industry, an industry that is contributing significantly to Government revenue and offering a huge opportunity for economic diversification.
Youth employment opportunities range from transportation, construction and maintenance, hospitality and tourism, and many others. It is against this backdrop that Maun Secondary School has been identified to lead the tourism and hospitality pathway. The idea is to empower the school to produce job-ready graduates who can easily adapt to the needs of the industry. As a proactive region, sensitisation of various stakeholders is currently on-going. Feeder schools are made aware of the envisaged pathway. The school itself, is in collaboration with various stakeholders to ready themselves for a full implementation exercise. As we anxiously await its implementation, multiple pathways have become the ideal song in the north west region.
With a low pass rate trending for some time, north west region has little or no choice but to embrace changes that are geared towards improving the quality and relevance of education. We also note the expansion and building of schools in the remotest places of the region as a call to improving access and equity in education. We also acknowledge the challenge emanating from the vastness of the region in terms of management effectiveness and efficiency. ICT presents one solution to addressing such a challenge. Further decentralisation of authority can also do the magic. Funds and other resources permitting, another region should be considered in the Shakawe area.
The road map for the Ministry of Basic Education has clear intentions for improving quality in education. The reforms are an evidence to such good intentions. We cannot just be hopeful for better educational results without putting in initiatives that close the gaps. ‘Luck’ is not a strategic plan, and trial and error is not an effective process. Luck is a high-risk approach with an increased incidence of failure. Therefore, north west region is more than ready to embrace the reforms from the mother ministry.