SAs Bud Group throws Namibian maths teaching programme a million-dollar lifeline
Bud Group company Walvis Bay Salt Refiners announces three-year sponsorship of renowned upskilling initiative
JOHANNESBURG – The South African-based Bud Group Chemicals and Minerals, which operates in 12 African countries, is furthering the professional development of Namibian mathematics teachers with the announcement of a N$1-million investment by group company Walvis Bay Salt Refiners (WBSR).
WBSR managing director Andre Snyman announced the three-year sponsorship at the official opening of the annual National Mathematics Congress teacher training initiative in Swakopmund on Monday.
The four-day congress, which kicked off on May 6, was established in 2006 in partnership with the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture to improve the learning and teaching of maths in Namibian schools. Its 14th edition is expected to draw more than 300 primary and secondary school teachers from all 14 regions of the country.
Snyman said he was “100% convinced” that the congress was achieving its aim of raising the standard of maths education across Namibia.
“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.”
Snyman said WBSR 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.”
As WBSR’s major corporate social responsibility project, he said it met the company’s criteria of focusing on the development of the Namibian child on a national basis and was a good example of a successful partnership between government and the private sector.
Congress organiser Magret Courtney-Clarke said the Ministry of Education supported teachers with transport and accommodation but that they were reliant on WBSR’s 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.
“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 Namibian educators were starting to run the programme.
“A very important aim of the congress is capacity building – making our teachers competent and confident to deliver the foundations for a mathematically literate population. I think we are achieving that.”
The 14th edition of the congress takes place from 6 to 9 May at Namib High School.