Finnish Ambassador, H.E. Anne Saloranta, said the purpose of the manual is to improve the education of children by enhancing their knowledge and skill in arts education.
“There are many developmental benefits in arts, which include motor skills because many of the motions involved in making arts, such as holding a paintbrush, are essential to the growth of fine motor skills in young children,” she said adding that arts education helps in language development, where young children learn to use descriptive words to discuss their own creation. “Art education strengthens problem solving and critical thinking skills and the experience of making decisions and choices in the course of creating art can carry over into other parts of life,” emphasised Saloranta.
She said it is her hope that with the ideas and concrete examples provided in this valuable resource book for teachers, arts education can be strengthened in line with the goals and objectives of the Namibian Basic Education Curriculum.
Mr Charles Kabajani, Acting Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture said that Finland and Namibia enjoy a special relationship, which started over 140 years ago. “Therefore the ministry would like to express its sincere appreciation for the generous support to this important programme,” he added.
The Arts & Crafts education programme supports the implementation and promotion of arts, handicrafts and culture in the education system. “A lot of activities were carried out during the programme to promote and support the implementation of arts and crafts education in the Namibian education system. These include the arts education conference, arts and handicraft education festival, development of handicrafts education material, training of teachers and the development of the Teachers’ Manual which is being launched today,” he said.
Dr Hertha Pomuti. Director, National Institute for Education Development (NIED) said that Cabinet approved the Policy on Arts and Culture in 2001, which stressed that all Namibians should take part in creative activities in many different forms to share their understanding of life, realise their creative potential and contribute to economic development. The status of the arts and artists should be improved through education and training and exploring the economic potential of this sector.
“I would like to emphasise that our primary schools should strive for the effective teaching of the arts subjects and therefore as a country we should continue strengthening our teachers’ knowledge and personal arts experiences through pre-service and in-service teacher education programmes,” she concluded.