GOBABIS, 16 JUL – A shortage of San language teachers in the Omaheke Region has deprived thousands of San learners in the region of the opportunity to be taught in their mother tongue, as per the revised education curriculum.
The revised curriculum calls for learners at lower primary school level to be taught in their mother tongue in order to allow them to grasp content easier.
The region, which has thousands of San learners enrolled in schools across the region, has been struggling to employ San language teachers for the past five years or so.
The San language that is offered in schools here, as per the education curriculum, is Ju|’hoansi.
Director of Education for Omaheke, Peka Semba told Nampa on Monday that the directorate’s attempts to lure indigenous home language San speakers in education have proved futile.
He said the directorate has approached various candidates and institutions across the country for help especially at Tsumkwe where San home language education has taken off, but returned empty-handed.
“We have done our best but we have come up with nothing. It really is a struggle to get a San language teacher for home language teaching, which would mean that such language will be a medium of instruction,” he added.
The situation, Semba stressed, has forced many San learners to take other languages – predominately Otjiherero, Khoekhoegowab,and SeTswana as medium of instruction at lower primary school level.
While the possibility of losing their own home language is real, San learners often struggle in these ‘adopted’ languages, he noted.
He continued that mother tongue education has proved to be of paramount importance to the social development of children.
“The fact that they can sometimes do so well in these languages is commendable, but the reality is that they are not able to fully master such languages as opposed to their own,” Semba said.
Educators are of the opinion that mother tongue education can enhance the socio-economic well-being of pupils in future and groom worthy citizens capable of leading, because they understand and recognise the essential role that culture and tradition play in everyday life.
There are about 4 200 San learners in schools in the Omaheke Region, which constitutes about 18 per cent of the total learner population of 23 200, according to the regional education directorate.