Local maths teacher training programme commences – Initiative gets million-dollar boost
The annual National Mathematics Congress teacher training initiative has been thrown a lifeline with the announcement of a three-year, N$1-million sponsorship from Walvis Bay Salt Refiners.
The 14th edition of the congress which started today will conclude on 9 May at Namib High School.
The four-day congress, was established in 2006 in partnership with the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture to improve the learning and teaching of maths in local schools.
The congress is expected to draw more than 300 primary and secondary school teachers from all 14 regions of the country.
At the opening ceremony, Walvis Bay Salt Refiners managing director, Andre Snyman said he was “100% convinced” that the congress was achieving its aim of raising the standard of maths education across the country.
“We know that the end product is only as good as the quality of the teachers that you have in the system. If we can lift their performance, we can have a wider impact,” he added.
Snyman said the company had been involved as a congress co-sponsor since its inception but had seized the opportunity to take over as main sponsor three years ago.
“This programme is exceptional, and we want to see it continue for many more years. Making a solid commitment for the next three years will help us ensure its longevity,” he added.
Congress organiser, Magret Courtney-Clarke said the Ministry of Education supported teachers with transport and accommodation but that they were reliant on the Refiners’ sponsorship to run the congress itself.
This year’s theme would focus on the teaching of the “demanding” new mathematics curriculum and its assessment practices, she said.
“Our aim is to create a platform where mathematics educators can meet, share information, discuss common concerns and especially learn about teaching and learning mathematics from other teachers and expert educators,” said Courtney-Clarke.
She said over 3,500 teachers had attended the congress in total, with some returning year after year.
“They are divided into junior and senior primary and junior and senior secondary phases. Each group participates in workshops and practical exercises specifically aimed at the level they are teaching,” she added.
“Many schools send all their maths teachers and are reporting positive change and improvement in their schools. We are also seeing an increasing number of teachers involved in post-graduate degrees.”
While the congress had previously relied on experts from South Africa, Courtney-Clarke said a number of competent local educators have started to run the programme.
Caption: Junior primary teachers get to grips with colourful teaching materials during the National Mathematics Congress in Swakopmund. Walvis Bay Salt Refiners has just announced a $1-million, three-year sponsorship of the event, which is aimed at improving the standard of mathematics education in Namibia. (Image supplied).