“Without Libraries, a Nation Dies”


Libraries across the African continent as well as the entire globe are battling because funding have been reduced. As they struggle with funding, other service providers are getting more than what they are supposed to get. The reason is, apparently, that they are more essential to humanity than ever before. Whatever reason you may think of, this is not right.

Libraries should not be neglected as they are foundation, in some way, of a nation that really wants to get ahead of others or just trying to compete with others. Here is why. Libraries have been around for Centuries and Centuries back. They have been at the heart of empires that have been built. It is amazing that now they are being ignored compared to the past when they were being treasured. That’s because they hold treasures of the world – the known and the unknown.

now, I say without libraries, a nation dies because the lifeblood of a nation to me is a library. These institutions make available to everyone free information – current and non-current, they provide knowledge that is useful in transforming the nation from poverty to riches, they make individuals discover their best selves just by flipping the pages, and this is where intelligence meets the dumb-stricken individuals and resuscitate them – giving them life again, an opportunity that was never seen before.

Just think about it for a while. Can you do without books, newspapers, internet (technology), and all that you can think of? No, you can’t. But libraries brings all these things that you cherish so much, free of charge – well for most of the times! What better way to learn than being in a library, surrounded by loving people and all the resources housed and made available.

Libraries are recording and preserving a nation’s history, its people, its diverse cultures and many other things. This is the best way to learn and discover your country and other countries far and near. A library just broadens the horizons of a person, but we do not want them! How strange?

Airing Out Dirty Laundry


fsk82:

When your private life becomes public, expect to be under pressure because at any moment your relationships will collapse.

Originally posted on Poetry On A Roll:

Don’t let your private matters
become public affairs.
There’s a time and a place
for everything.
Reserve special times for venting
and airing out dirty laundry.
Handle your private business with care.

written by: Kimalee Jones

View original

The Unkown Student


I have written about the failure rate of Grades 10 and 12 Namibian learners in my previous articles. In this article I want to highlight the importance of reading and of libraries in our schools and communities.

Dr. Ben Carson, the renowned neurosurgeon, had no competition of last place in his class, i.e. he was the number zero in his class. Number last, until something magical came his way – reading. His mother had put him on a reading program; two books every week from the library, plus a summary of what he would read. I urge every student to read this book: Think Big: unleashing your potential for excellence. In this book, Dr. Ben Carson prescribes his personal formula for success. And who could better advise than a man who has transformed himself from a ghetto kid into the most celebrated pediatric neurosurgeon in the world? With an acrostic, Dr. Carson spells out his philosophy of living: T-Talents/time: Recognize them as gifts. H -Hope for all good things and be honest. I -Insight from people and good books. N -Be nice to all people. K -Knowledge: Recognize it as the key to living. B -Books: Read them actively. I -In-depth learning skills: Develop them. G -God: Never get too big for Him. Think Big emphasizes how to evaluate and respond to problems in order to overcome them and make the most of your inner potential.

Books open worlds that are hidden. Read them, and you will find out how sweet things can be for you. But if you do not open them, the world will remain closed for you, and opportunities will be few and understanding will be limited; most learners will fail their final examinations, or there will be little progress altogether. Reading books is a tried-and-tested antidote that works for everyone. Try it and prove me wrong. Just compare yourself with someone down at your village who dropped out of school years ago, and you will see how far you have gone.

Government should prioritize libraries in schools for Namibia to have a better pass rate in both Grade 10 and Grade 12 exams. If this one aspect of education – libraries – is overlooked, the results will be the same very year. Only a handful will progress. The majority will be in the streets, and this is not wanted.

Knowledge & Youth Unemployment in Namibia


Contributed by Foibe Shaambeni

Many organisations have realised that the most important asset to an organisation is people and their knowledge. Today it is widely acknowledged that knowledge is one of the most important resources in an organisation.  This article will therefore concentrate on how knowledge management can be applied to improve the burden of youth unemployment in Namibia. The concept of knowledge management and youth unemployment will be clearly defined in this article. I will also explain how Namibia is currently dealing with the issue of unemployment as well as how knowledge management can be applied to deal with youth unemployment in Namibia.

Knowledge management

Knowledge management is defined as the process of creating value from an organisation’s tangible assets (Liebowitz 2005). Nonaka and Takeuchi (1995) described knowledge management as the process which involves the management of explicit and tacit knowledge. Knowledge management can also be defined as “the discipline of creating a thriving work and learning environment that foster the continuous creation, aggregation, use and re-use of both organisational and personal knowledge in the pursuit of new business value” (Cross,1995). Relating to the above definitions of knowledge management, one can clearly see that knowledge management is an on-going process that entail effective learning processes associated with exploring and exploiting as well as well as sharing of tacit and explicit knowledge through the use of appropriate technology to enhance the organisation’s performance.

Youth unemployment

The term unemployment is defined by the International Labour Organisation as “all those without a job, who are available for work, and are looking for work.

Initially, youth unemployment has been identified as one of the biggest challenge in many countries — both developing and developed (Namibia Labour Force Survey Report, 2008). Namibia has a very small population of 2113077, and half of the population (50.3%) are below 19 years of age, making the population of Namibia a very young one (Census Report, 2011). Unemployment is a very big challenge in Namibia. Eventually, the high rate of unemployment in Namibia has been a major challenge to the government since independence. The table below shows the rate of unemployment for the year 1997, 2000, and 2004 and 2011.

Year 1997 2000 2004 2011
Unemployment rate 52.1% 56.3% 54.4% 51.2%

Source: Namibia Labour Force Survey 1997, 2000, 2004 & 2011

Apart from the 51,2 % rate of youth unemployment that was released recently by the Namibian Labour Force Survey, the Namibian census report for 2011 has also revealed that unemployment rate in Namibia is currently standing at 36.9 % or 312503 people. Even though the figures released by the Namibian census are a bit lower than the one released by the labour force survey, unemployment is still relatively high.

How is Namibia dealing with youth unemployment?

Since youth unemployment is a major obstacle for the economic growth of Namibia, the government of Namibia has decided to implement different initiation to improve youth unemployment in the country. Such initiations are explained below:

National Youth Service (NYS)

The main focus of this initiative is to recruit young school leavers from all over the country. This initiative offers skills training for school leavers who do not qualify for further studies at institutions of higher learning . The objective of the National Youth Service is to create a platform for unity, cultural exchange, nationhood, patriotism, harmony and discipline (NEPRU, 2005).

Multipurpose Youth Centres (MYC)

Multipurpose Youth Centres has been established in different regions in Namibia. They focus on providing training aimed at developing skills in basic computer, tailoring and gymnastics, with the hope to increase marketability (NEPRU, 2005).

Target Intervention Program for Employment and Economic Growth (TIPEEG).

Given the 51% unemployment figures by the Ministry of Labour, the Namibian government implemented TIPEEG in 2010. The main focus of TIPEEG is to create short to medium term jobs in Namibia. It was also implemented to address the high unemployment rate while supporting strategic economic sector.

Training Youth for Sustainable Livelihood in Rural Namibia

This initiative was established to help the Youth Development Directorate to deal with the problem of the urban migration. This initiative focus mainly on curriculum development, training, volunteer leadership development, village youth club organisation and small enterprise development (Nepru, 2003)

Junior Achievement Namibia (JAN)

This initiative focused mainly on a programme that teaches the youth self-employment skills by offering them business and economic related education through practical entrepreneurial projects. Since its inception, Junior Achievement has been running its programme with several high schools, university and vocational training centres in Namibia. Junior Achievement has been identified as a tool for youth empowerment as it prepares young people on how to develop and manage their businesses. Through this programme, students can form a company and agree upon a product or service to offer. Students have raised enough capital to start their own business, develop and market their products and wisely their human and capital resources (JAN, 2002).

National Youth Council (NYC)

The NYC was implemented to advise the ministry of youth on developmental and youth issues. The council was established in 1994 and it operates in six key areas: employment, promotion and environmental awareness, youth health and welfare; networking; youth exchange and international relations as well as information technology and media (NEPRU, 2005). Youth Employment Network (YEN) initiative is backed by two UN resolutions which support and promote national level strategies for youth employment. The initiative was launched in 2002 focusing on self-employment, renewable energy, micro-credit scheme, mentorship programme and capacity building training workshop (NEPRU, 2005). Although the above initiatives are all intended to reduce youth unemployment, there is enough evidence on the ground showing that they did not yield positive results as the rate of unemployment remains stubbornly high, calling the intervention of knowledge management, which might improve this situation.

What knowledge management can do to improve youth unemployment in Namibia?

The government of the Republic of Namibia should embark on knowledge exchange and knowledge sharing in the country. The above mentioned initiatives must embrace and stimulate an environment of curiosity, they have to be playgrounds of knowledge sharing. Knowledge sharing has become so important that many accept that the success of knowledge management in an organisation depends on effective knowledge sharing practices (Bhirud, Rodrigues & Desai, 2005).  Knowledge sharing is defined by International Labour Organisation (2007) as “ the process that connects people with what they need”. Jashapara (2004) define knowledge sharing as the deliberate act in which knowledge is made reusable through its transfer from one party to another. The Republic of Namibia acknowledge the importance of knowledge in the society as it is stipulated in Vision 2030 that by the year 2030 Namibia must be an industrialised and a knowledge-based economy. There are many different ways where knowledge exchange and knowledge sharing can be applied to ensure that the aim of knowledge management is fulfilled.

Community of Practice (CoP)

Communities of practice are groups of people who share a concern, a set of problem, or a passion about a topic and who deepen their knowledge and expertise in this area on an on-going basis (Wenger, McDermott, and Snyder 2002). The benefit of the community of practice entail improvement in productivity, reduction in costs, improvements in both speed and quality of work, better decision making, greater collaboration and teamwork.

References

1. Bihrud, S., Rodrigues, L., Desai, P. (2005). Knowledge sharing practices in KM: a case study in Indian software subsidiary. Journal of knowledge management practices. 6 (6):1-3.

2. Community of Practice. (2009). Available from http://www.kstoolkit.org/Communities+Practice [retrieved on 2013 April 03]

3. Haapalainen, P & Mäkiranta, A. (2013). Acquiring and sharing knowledge in SMEs: a case in the manufacturing industry. Journal of Knowledge Management Practice. 14 (1) 3-5.

4. Idea. (2008). Knowledge management tools and techniques: improvement and development agency or local government helping you access the right knowledge     at the time. Available at http://www.scribd.com/doc/32604819/9/peer-assist

5. International Labour Organisation. (2006). Available from             http://www.ilo.org/public/english/support/lib/knowledgesharing/network.htm#Mn

6. Jashapara, A. (2004). Knowledge management: an integrated approach. England: Pearson Education Limited.

7. Junior Achievement Namibia. (n.d). Out of school programmes. Available from:        http://www.ja-namibia.org/index.php/programmes/out-of-school-programmes

8. Liebowitz, J. (2005). Conceptualising and implementing knowledge management. Management of knowledge in Project Environments, 1-18, Elsevier Butterworth-Heinemann.

9. National Planning Commision. (2011). Target intervention program for employment and economic growth. Available from:            http://www.npc.gov.na/publications/TIPEEG.pdf

10. NEPRU. (2005). The youth employment challenge in Southern Africa- policy responses and programmes targeting young women and men at the national level. National report paper in Namibia. Windhoek: NEPRU.

11. NEPRU. (2005). Background paper for employment creation policy. Windhoek: NEPRU.

12. Nonaka, I. & Takeuchi, H. (1995). The knowledge creation company: how the Japanese companies create the dynamic of innovation. Oxford University Press.

13. Wenger, E. C., Mcdermott, R., and Snyder, W.M. (2002). Cultivating communities of practice: a guide to managing knowledge. Boston: Harvard Business School Press.

Employee Mass Exodus


I left my work because I was not recognised

Introduction

Every year, the public service institutions and private sector companies lose hundreds – if not thousands – employees due to certain factors. In Namibia, a huge number of employees exit the public sector in search of greener pastures in the private sectors. A newspaper article “Over 3 800 leave govt. jobs: brain drain has hit hard since last April” by Elvis Muraranganda of the Namibian Sun stated that “government offices, ministries and agencies are experiencing a massive staff turnover due to resignation, job dissatisfaction and dismissal, among other reasons” (2013, p.1). The question is, perhaps, ‘how can an organisation return and attract employees?’

English: diagram showing the process of brain ...

English: diagram showing the process of brain drain (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Story Behind the Story

In a certain organisation, years ago, was a crisis that almost ruined this organisation. It did not seem like the crisis could cause damage when it began, but as years went by the pain could be felt in the entire organisation. The manager favored others and disregarded others. The ones who were favored were people who are known as the “yes people” because anything the manager said, they would follow; but the ones not  favored were people who questioned some decisions taken and did not agree with him.

Now it happened that disregarded and less favored employees so injustices of the manager who would not complement even the good works of employees except the ones he favored. Because this was a leading organisation, employees did not want leave but the situation forced them to look for better working conditions and opportunities elsewhere. Employee after employee made their exit every year and replacements were hard and positions took long times to be filled. When positions were filled, the employee would not take time before leaving as well. Most were not sent to refresher courses or training.

As time went-by, activities of the organisation were affected and productivity was very low, competitors employed people from this organisation. They were now regarded as crucial asserts elsewhere when they were regarded as lazy people before. In the mean time, the organisation suffered as employees continued to leave. The organization suffered a great deal because it lost employees with experience and a massive knowledge to its competitors.

Essence of the story

Questions to consider: Can your organisation manage without knowledgeable manpower? Can you, as a manager, be able to live with so many bad decisions and manage to get through all your mess?

The work of librarians is stressful sometimes, and may lead employees to pursue other professions rather than librarianship. Depending on situations and perceptions, employees will seek for better opportunities with other organisations which they perceive well. Organisations should, therefore, recognize the contributions which their employees make. Non-financial rewards such as genuine social recognition have a big impact on employee productivity and quality service behaviors (Luthans: 2011, p.101). Some people cannot see themselves working anywhere else, so they remain regardless of how dissatisfied they feel. In essence, employees become dissatisfied because of several reasons such as the attitude of managers towards employees, lack of appreciation and recognition by the supervisor, and available opportunities at the current organisation such as the possibility for promotion.

Conclusion

Just as some organisations in Namibia may be overlooking after the well-being of their employees, the country’s public service may also be at fault with their employees. Despite the fact that education levels of citizens are low, nothing is being done to improve and equip employees with new skills through training and development programmes. In Suppression of Talent and Innovation, Henny Seibeb (2013: p. 10) underlines the fact the “Despite high unemployment, low levels of education and a suppressive financial regime, there is no strategic plan to identify and support talent in Namibia” as other countries like China have done.

Lack of training may therefore lead employees to perceive that they are being sidelined, and may in the end tend to find greener pastures where opportunities are available. Greenberg (2011, p. 68) states that “Workers consider their job performance ratings to be fair to the extent that certain procedures are followed, such as when raters are believed to be familiar with their work and when they believe that the standards used to judge them are applied to everyone equally and consistently.” Unfortunately, this is not often the case in public institutions. Sometimes superiors do not even consider the line of duty a person is into, but they only consider the positions, e.g. the superior may not look at the type of work a reference librarian and a bibliographic librarian does, but evaluate both of them as simply librarians. This is wrong, and superiors should try to separate the differences involved in work schedules of their inferiors.

References:

1. Luthans, Fred (2011). Organizational behavior: an evidence-based approach. 12th ed. Boston: McGraw-Hill/Irwin

2. Seibeb, H. (2013 Nov 8). Suppression of talent and innovation. Vol. 28, No.51. Windhoek: The Namibian  http://www.namibian.com.na/indexx.php?id=5853&page_type=story_detail

3. Muraranganda, E. (2013 Oct 31). Over 3 800 leave govt. jobs: brain drain has hit hard since last April. Windhoek: Namibian Sun

4. Greenberg, J. (2011). Behavior in organizations. 10th ed. Boston: Pearson

Exercise your Brain to Gain Advantage


‘Gatsby came here to be near Daisy. He can see her house across the bay’. Then there was a reason for all those parties. Gatsby had hoped that one evening, Daisy would walk into his house (Fitzgerald: 2005, p.35).

The quotation above would make you hungry for more, pulsating your heart and keeping your mind in the suspense mode. Just reading one book or article, would make you want to read some more. But in today’s world of Internet and computer games, people would rather watch a movie than read a book. Is reading a book still worthwhile, or can you shelf all books after you have earned a College degree?

Consider the Scriptures: “Till I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine” (1 Timothy 4: 13). “Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near” (Revelation 1: 3). Why read? Reading increases your knowledge and understanding. You can become an expert in other fields that you did not study in college. In other words, reading broadens your spectrum of wisdom and how you view things and handle problems.

You might argue that old people who are (or were) illiterate had so much wisdom and knowledge, and handled situations and problems better than us today. True in some sense. But did you know that wisdom they possessed was transferred orally through stories and practice. Theoretically, this wisdom might have been passed by one individual who could read. Did you know that most of the laws and customs in our cultures are from the Bible? How did they get to know these things when they could not read? The answer is simple, somebody who could read, told them and they passed it through generations, without reading.

Just as you exercise your body by going to the gym or field, so it is as well that when you read, you are training your brain to think quicker than ever before. “There is mounting evidence that regular reading helps ward off Alzheimer’s…” (Williams: 2009, p. 62). Reading just brings joy to your heart, and a happy heart is a happy you! Williams continues saying:

If you need further evidence that reading is the best choice for filling up your leisure time, consider this: when you read a book you are using primary natural energy–the kind you’ve been given by God and that’s available to you every day.

So what is the conclusion? Be a lifelong learner. Never stop learning. By reading, you are learning and exercising your mind.

References:

1. Fitzgerald, F.S. (2005). The great Gatsby. Retold by Margaret Tarner. Oxford: Macmillan Heinemann ELT

2. Williams, P. and Williams, K. (2009). The takeaway: 20 unforgettable life lessons every father should pass on to his child. Deerfield Beach, Florida: Health Communications

Recitations: Some Lessons


One of the lessons that helped shape our minds and memory, while we were still in primary school is, without any doubt, recitations. Recitations helped me to stay focused in class and remember almost every word spoken during lessons. The subject, which was compulsory from Grade 1 to Grade 3, was known as Oral Language and Recitation. That time I did not even realise that it was a subject, but it sure helped and continues helping me a great deal!

The strategies employed by teachers of those days, in rural schools, was very easy considering that resources were either limited or not available at all. Memory exercises came in the form of songs. For example, when learning the rainbow colours consider this two-line simple song:

Red, orange, yellow, green

Blue, indigo, and violet.

Children who hated school were somehow touched by this song in Silozi below:

Ya sa keni sikolo

U tundamena buhobe

This meant that “the one who does not attend school, just likes eating food. The song infuriated many and brought them back to school – to learn to read and write. That was the ultimate goal! Steinberg [et al.] (2011, p.284) states that a comprehensive research evidence by the National Reading Panel concluded that comprehension is an essential component of early reading. The two specific elements required by comprehension, according to the research are:

“1. Oral reading fluency – being able to read aloud smoothly, accurately, and at a good speed

2. Vocabulary comprehension – understanding words and text meaning.”

Recitations not only make learning fun and memorable, but they also push us to discover new things, which is why teachers included recitations such as: The Wood-cutter, The Teapot, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, Betty Bought a Bread, and several others. They encourage every student to do better. Suttor (2012) echoes this sentiment when she mentions that recitations enhance the educational experience of a student. “Recitation of poetry improves vocabulary of students. The auditory component of recitation of poetry allows language to engrain itself in the student’s knowledge” Suttor (2012). Even better, recitations helps in developing confidence. Presentation should begin at an early age, and what a better way to start than recitations in early grades!

Lastly, let me leave you with my favourite recitation, Betty Bought a Bread:

Betty bought a bread,

But a bread that Betty bought

Was bitter.

To make bitter-bread better,

Betty bought some butter.

 

References

Steinberg, L., Bornstein, M.H., Vandell, D.L. and Rook, K.S. 2011. Lifespan development: infancy through adulthood. International edition. [Sydney]: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning

2.      Suttor, M. (2012). The educational value of reciting poetry. Available from: http://www.helium.com/items/2387000-the-educational-value-of-reciting-poetry [Accessed 2013 May 30].