Life Skills must become exam subject – De Klerk
By Magreth Nunuhe
WINDHOEK – Gross neglect of the ‘Life Skills’ subject for many years in schools is the primary reason behind the social horrors being experienced by Namibia, reckons Veronica de Klerk, the Executive Director of Women Action for Development (WAD).
She expressed these sentiments at the Second National Conference on Gender-Based Violence (GBV) held in Windhoek, where she stressed the need to put the “golden subject” in the spotlight as it drills learners on how to deal with life.
She said Life Skills teaches learners how to respect themselves, human life in general, norms and values, how not to abuse alcohol and drugs and how to manage anger and family life.
“Let us be quite honest and admit to ourselves that ‘Life Skills’ was not taken seriously enough in the past – neither by the educational authorities, nor by us as parents,” said De Klerk, who noted it was also not surprising that children are grossly neglected in their homes as well.
The WAD director said that in 2011 they trained close to 800 ‘Life Skills’ teachers and school counsellors on the causes and consequences of GBV countrywide and based that on research findings conducted in prisons around the country in consultation with Unam’s Faculty of Social Science.
De Klerk said she was saddened to learn that Namibia is considerably behind the South African education system with regard to the importance of ‘Life Skills’ as a learning discipline. The subject is examinable in grades 10 to 12 in South Africa.
She therefore appealed to the Ministry of Education to ensure, as a matter of urgency, that Life Skills becomes an examination subject to be passed for promotion to the next grade.
She also called on parents to become key players in establishing sound value systems in society and especially mothers, whom she said could play a role in bringing up their sons to respect women and girls.
“Parents who do not exercise proper control over the activities of their offspring and who may be slack in their role as prime educators unknowingly incubate enormous future problems for society,” De Klerk said.
She added that the parental home lies at the core of GBV because the home presents the child with the first exposure to disrespect and violence against women, when fathers use abusive language and degrade their mothers in front of their children.