The Ministry of Education and Culture is compiling a list of all teachers and education officials who have so far died due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and will then tell the nation about the way forward.

This was said by Acting Executive Director of the Ministry Mr Gerald Vries.

Vries was responding to questions from Omutumwa about the situation on the ground and whether the Ministry is satisfied with the state of affairs where the education sector in the country is concerned.

Since last year when the Covid-19 hit the country, as well as the rest of the world, there have been various actions taken and measures put in place to try to contain the further spread of the virus. A lot of the measures put in place have affected not only the economy but also the lives of people, families and cultures.

Apart from the loss of life which constantly has been the cause for concern in communities, loss of teaching and learning opportunity has been the greatest cause of concern, because lost school hours will never be recovered for children who are at preprimary, primary and secondary education levels.

This has been a concern since last year when face-to-face teaching has been suspended again and again, but without a working system of migration to online teaching. This week the Ministry announced that the winter holiday which was supposed to last until 26 July 2021 has been extended until 4 August.

So that Omutumwa asked Mr Vries if they are confident that Namibian school children are learning at all during the current circumstances.

“Materials were supplied and teachers prepared at various schools; there is a lot put in place, in some context where the online options were available to parents and guardians, these were also provided,” Vries said.

“We are saying there is room for improvement. There is always room for improvement, but Covid-19 pandemic was having the same effect all through the world, nowhere in the world has the education system not been affected.”

Vries further explained that schools in the villages where there is no internet connection have not been left behind. “Through the regional directorates funds have been made available so that hard copy materials can be prepared at the school level, so that learners can be provided with even hard copy materials to take home and learn under the guidance of parents and guardians.

“There is always room for improvement, but the ministry of education is doing everything to assist the schools in bringing the teaching and learning process to learners in the context that we have at the moment.”

Vries stated that they are aware of the impact the Covid-19 has so far had on the teaching staff.

“So far on the context of teaching especially teachers and support staff, hostel staff, even regional education staff, it is a cause for concern. We urge everyone to get vaccinated, and observe the protocols of wearing masks, sanitizing, limit unnecessary movement and gatherings to stay safe.

“We are in the process of compiling the information relating to the teachers who have succumbed to the disease and further plans will be communicated,” he said.

In the photo: The late veteran Ruacana teacher Sacky Kanyanda Seblon, who succumbed to Covid-19 recently. Seblon was also a councillor for the town of Ruacana.