Teachers and learners to be accountable
Iréne-Mari van der Walt
The regulations adjacent to the new education act are in their final stages, according to the education inspector for the Omaruru circuit, Engelhardt Uirab.
A year after starting work at the education ministry in the Erongo Region, Uirab committed himself to the instatement of the new education act in 2013.
Roughly eight years after their task began, the proposed regulations are in the hands of the justice ministry for finalising.
“Regulations are just an extension of an Act. The Act cannot be detailed so it will refer to prescribed text which is the regulations. The ministry of justice’s work is now to make sure that none of the proposed regulations are in conflict with the Act. It would make no sense to have regulations that are in conflict with the Act,” he said.
Uirab noted conflict with the immigrations act highlighted by some of his colleagues. “The education act says that a learner must be able to apply for a passport, but what happens if a foreigner schooling here wants to apply for a passport?”
According to Uirab, the new education act and regulations aim primarily to hold teachers accountable for quality education.
“Previously, there were too many loopholes. Teachers could get off scot-free for many things and the school principal could possibly be charged with negligence or misconduct, but this new Act ensures that everyone is held accountable,” he said.
He believes that the new Act and regulations officiate many layman policies into a legally binding Act.
“There are many things that are just policy that the ministry cannot act on because it is just in the air, but with this Act, we have incorporated policy into the law. This Act states, for example, that teachers must partake in an annual improvement plan.”
More than just teachers, learners will also be held accountable.
“One of the new laws is that if learners damage property, their guardians will be held accountable to pay for the damage. There was outcry over this, but we need parents to properly discipline children and hold them accountable,” he said.
The new education act and regulations will also aim to keep the learner-teacher relationship intact by forbidding teachers from taking up other formal work.
“Imagine if a teacher becomes the mayor, then you have a teacher who is not in school because they need to fulfill their duties as the mayor so other teachers need to constantly help out. This was definitely a bone of contention, but it needs to be done.”