Leaving no child behind

EBH Namibia Hannes Uys, Chief Executive Officer

Developing people through education is at the heart of Elgin Brown & Hamer (EBH) Namibia’s corporate culture, a philosophy which filters through the entire organisation and extends out into the community.

This is according to Chief Executive Officer, Hannes Uys, who says that the company recognises that it has a vitally important role to play within the social environment in which it operates; and that as such, it has the ability to make tangible and positive changes where they are needed most.

“We feel strongly that education is an area which empowers people to create a better life for themselves, and thereby ultimately determining the future health and well-being of our country as a whole. This is why we have chosen to support a number of education and training initiatives in the region,” Uys says.

One of these initiatives is the Erongo Reading Programme, which was launched in October 2014 by the Teachers’ Resource Centre (TRC) in Swakopmund. The campaign, under the slogan ‘Leave No Child Behind’, involves the training of teachers in a reading programme which aims to improve basic reading and comprehension skills among learners.

“A lack of infrastructure, insufficient funding and a lack of trained personnel are some of the problems facing the education system in Namibia, which are resulting in high failure rates in schools.  We believe this problem can be meaningfully addressed through ongoing collaboration between government and the corporate sector in initiatives such as this one,” says Uys.

The first phase of the Erongo Reading Programme, which entailed the training of 323 teachers from 32 schools in the Erongo region, began inMarch 2015 and was concluded in June. The teachers were trained in basic phonics and reading methods during workshops which were conducted over two days per school.

“The project has been a great success thus far, thanks to our highly dedicated facilitators who have been tirelessly training the teachers throughout the region,” says Ms Katrien van Rooi, Senior Education Officer at the TRC and co-facilitator of the Erongo Reading Programme.

“During their visits to the various schools, they were struck by the dire shortage of readers, dictionaries and reference materials. Teaching aids are limited or non-existent in most rural areas in Namibia, and we believe this programme will go a long way to effectively addressing these issues,” Van Rooi points out.

The TRC is now preparing for the second phase of the programme, which will entail the ongoing monitoring and evaluation of all the schools which have participated to date, ensuring that the teachers are effectively implementing the programme.

“We are gearing up to start phase two of the project, which will start in the third school term and continue into 2016,” says Van Rooi.  “This is possible not only because of the dedication and commitment of our facilitators, but also because of the generous support we have received from EBH Namibia.”

The substantial sponsorship of the programme has funded the facilitators’ fees, as well as training material, transport costs, accommodation and meals.  Some of the schools are located in very remote areas, explains Van Rooi.

EBH Namibia has committed to ongoing support of education initiatives which reflect the government’s Vision 2030.

“Reading is the cornerstone of a good education, which is the springboard to a prosperous and viable society. In order to achieve Vision 2030, which aims at a better life for all Namibians, we need to work together to improve our education sector by addressing the need for a quality, relevant and effective education.

By developing the educator’s skills and efficiencies, we can start to improve the reading ability of learners and help to build a more promising future for our youth in Namibia,” Uys concludes.


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This edition

Issue 58