Corona challenges motivate
DaF cooperation remains committed

The Goethe-Institut Namibia Education Cooperation department was last year presented with various challenges in meeting its mandate to supporting the deliverance of German as a Foreign Language (DaF – Deutsch als Fremdsprache) at the over 53 Namibian schools. Despite the challenges brought by the Corona Pandemic, numerous projects were reconceptualised and delivered to meet the growing demand for DaF to over 8,000 learners.

  • PASCH Concordia Plaque ©Willem Vrey
  • PASCH 2020 Corinna Teacher ©Willem Vrey
  • PASCH Concordia Banner ©Willem Vrey
  • PASCH 2020 Daniel Principal ©Willem Vrey
  • PASCH 2020 E Goelz ©Willem Vrey
“We are delighted to have enabled many teachers to continue delivering their classes through a series of online resources such as electronic textbooks and workbooks that are also accessible by learners,” said Head of Goethe-Institut Namibia Education Cooperation, Corinna Burth. She said DaF teachers in Namibia were also offered access to online seminars and training for teaching online. “These seminars organised by the Goethe-Institut in Germany covered various methodological and didactic topics that would normally be covered in our annual conference for DaF teachers in Namibia for them to obtain and understand the latest developments in delivering education effectively,” she said. Not being able to meet in person due to lockdown and social distancing regulations were also overcome through the distribution of printed textbooks for schools and teachers who do not have Internet access in remote areas.

The importance of sanitization when schools opened was also acknowledged through the deliverance of disinfectant solutions, thermometers and face masks to the network of nine PASCH-Schulen in Namibia, of which Concordia College Windhoek is the most recent member after inauguration on 20 November. With support of the German Embassy in Windhoek, Burth traveled across Namibia to visit schools like Windhoek High School, Etosha Secondary School in Tsumeb and Otjiwarongo Secondary School. In her address at Concordia’s inauguration, German Embassy in Windhoek Chargee d’Affaires, Ellen Gölz said promoting the German language is a focus of the German Government’s cultural relations and education policy. “We believe that learning foreign languages fosters dialogue, exchange and cooperation between people of different cultures and backgrounds,” she said, adding it also creates new opportunities for study or work.
 
  •  PASCH 2020 WHS Laptops ©Goethe-Institut Namibia
  • PASCH 2020 ESS Laptops ©Goethe-Institut Namibia
  • PASCH 2020 PSS Laptops ©Goethe-Institut Namibia
  • PASCH 2020 Bags ©Goethe-Institut Namibia
 In her address, Deputy Minister of Education, Art and Culture, Faustina Namutenya Caley stressed the importance of collaboration with international partners such as the Goethe-Institut Namibia and German Embassy Windhoek to achieve the continental call and Leave no Child behind for Africa’s Development. The PASCH initiative supports schools all over the world that offer qualified German-language tuition by providing modern teaching materials, teacher training, student exchanges and scholarships. In particular, the Martin Luther High School received a generous donation from the Wortspiel initiative in Germany that visited the school during a PASCH concert and theatre tourney last year. That donation was coupled with another from the Goethe-Institut Namibia for renovation of the German classroom, fitting the school’s hall with more seating and the installation of a projector system.
 
Burth said making 80 scholarships, youth camps and methodology-didactics courses for teachers and DaF learners possible had to be reconceptualised and delivered differently because traveling to Germany was obviously not possible. “We decided to instead gift a total of 20 teachers at PASCH schools and learners part of this year’s PASCH Youth Camp each a laptop for them to complete the scholarships to online German courses. Those teachers now have a laptop that could also be used in their day-to-day operations at the PASCH schools,” she said. Another development, the LaboRadio project, was postponed to 2021 and of the 75 applications from DaF learners across Namibia, those who did not make it into the top ten for participation next year May each received Bluetooth headphones as a consolation. “The top ten students in this project will next year work with local partners such as NBC German Radio and HitRadio Namibia and learn how to make radio programmes in German,” said Burth.
 
  • PASCH 2020 Concordia Students pose ©Willem Vrey
  • PASCH Concordia Laptops ©Willem Vrey
  • PASCH Concordia Girls Games ©Willem Vrey
  • PASCH Concordia Girl Laptop ©Willem Vrey
Burth wishes all schools, learners and teachers involved in this year’s education cooperation projects the strength and courage to bring this unusually challenging academic year to a successful conclusion.