Empowering future generations

Catering for mother-tongue languages

05 October 2021 | Onderwys
Mariselle Stofberg

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A great need for reading material for children in their mother tongue continues to be a concern in the country, with many schools who still offer teaching in the vernacular languages who continue to find it challenging to acquire the needed material.

The educational booklets produced by Namibia Media Holdings, in collaboration with the ministry of education, arts and culture, has played an important role to provide schools with the resources needed to enable learners to read and learn in their mother tongue.

The principal of Mariental Primary School, Manfred Morris Isaack, expressed his gratitude towards NMH and the ministry for playing such a crucial role in safeguarding teaching in children’s home language.

“Our school was one of the first schools to be opened up in Mariental and after 65 years of existence, the school is proud to be a home for many learners. Today we have approximately 1 475 learners with two streams of education done in Afrikaans and Khoekhoegowab.”

Isaack added that almost 80% of their learners are orphans and vulnerable children.

“These booklets play such a critical role for us as a school, because it enables us to provide reading material to our learners in their mother tongue, which is of the utmost importance in safeguarding our languages,” he said.

“It was of such an amazing help for us and our learners, because in time of need, this was a lifeline for us and our learners and the booklets continue to assist and empower us and our learners.”

Sandra Goagoses, a head of department at Oanob Primary School in Rehoboth, shared the same sentiments.

Apart from enabling the learners to read and learn in their native languages, the booklets serve another important role at this school.

“A lot of our learners come from vulnerable communities and backgrounds, and don’t always have the funds needed to buy all their stationery. And this often also results in them not being able to buy coloured paper to cover their books. This is where the booklets have again saved us.”

At the school, the teachers make use of the front pages of the older booklets to decorate their learners’ booklets to make sure everyone has a bright and colourful front page.

“They now all feel special, and no one feels left out,” Goagoses added.

The school also makes copies of the reading comprehension material and stories in the booklets to staple together to create “a type of a story book for them and future learners, so they can now also read stories in their mother tongue”.

Goagoses added that they believe this project will continue to assist learners, teachers and parents to ensure education remains a top priority.

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