By Maria Kandjungu
PRIVATE School Swakopmund was last week accredited as PASCH (Schools: Partners for the Future) making it the seventh PASCH school in Namibia and one of 2000 PATCH schools worldwide.
PASCH is a worldwide programme for the development and advancement of German language education at distinguished schools. The initiative promotes inter-cultural exchange and the development of an international learning community. Within the scope of this programme, German language classes are promoted at PASCH-Schools worldwide.
The accreditation was officially handed over by the German Embassy Windhoek, in partnership with Goethe-Institut Namibia, on the 15 June which also marks the German Language Day.
In a speech read on her behalf, Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture Permanent Secretary, Sanet Steenkamp, noted how competence in the German language should not be underestimated in contributing to Namibia’s socio-economic development. “Being conversant in German enables our school leavers to take up careers in the hospitality and tourism industry as well as to learn from German expertise. Not only in tourism but also technical vocational and higher education across is benefitting from linkages with German institutions,” said Steenkamp.
In agreement German Ambassador, Christian Schlaga said that PASCH accreditation and the German Language Day initiative are pivotal in maintaining the close relationship through cultural and language cooperation that sends many Namibians to study in Germany and opens doors for opportunities in study and career.
Also echoing Steenkamp, Erongo Regional Governor, Cleophas Mutjavikua took the opportunity to note Swakopmund’s Germanic cultural identity and how the PASCH programme will have local learners benefit immediately and in the future of their education and careers.
“I am convinced that the students of the PSS will profit greatly by having their school inducted in this project, as learning a global language – in this case German – opens up so many doors for life, especially in laying a foundation for one’s career. This is true in general but more especially in Namibia where tourism plays an ever increasing role in our nation’s economy,” said Mutjavikua.
Being a PASCH-School includes renovating the German language classrooms, installment of modern teaching technology, the supply of teaching materials designed for effective teaching and regular support through skills-transfer and scholarships for teachers to universities in Germany. The operations at the PSS started last year, which saw the installation of a resource centre for German language teachers in the Erongo Region and the upgrading at the PSS German language classrooms that cost about N$ 400 000.
The Goethe-Institut Namibia and PASCH throughout every academic year hold conferences for German language teachers to equip them with the latest and advanced teaching techniques. Being a PASCH-School, allows learners and teachers at the PSS to be part of a network that supports the development of multicultural projects and the acceptance of cultural diversity.
The German Language Day 2018 included a round table discussion at which representatives of the Erongo education system, local authority, regional economy, partners in education and culture and principals of all PASCH schools in Namibia deliberated on the importance of German language skills for the Erongo Region. Participants identified that while the importance of proficiency in German is important to the economy, particularly the tourism industry of Namibia, the need of resources and lack of teaching staff needs urgent attention.
The Etosha Secondary School in Tsumeb will in the near future also be accredited as a PASCH-School and sign their Agreement of Cooperation.
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