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Namibia: Secondary Education Math Teacher

Before You Apply
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Project Description

Achievement in math and science, as well as English literacy across the curriculum is a priority for the Ministry of Education, Arts, and Culture (MoEAC) in Namibia. Peace Corps Namibia’s Education project addresses gaps in English, Mathematics, Science, and technology content. Volunteers build the capacity of Namibian teachers, develop teaching and learning resources, improve the delivery of instruction, and promote English literacy across the curriculum and link schools with their communities. On the whole, the objective of the project is to ensure that learners have the comprehension and critical thinking skills for active citizenship and employment.

Despite Namibia’s classification as a “lower middle income” economy, huge disparities still exist. Namibia is ranked as one of the lowest countries in terms of income/asset distribution in the world, and the Government of Namibia cites “high and persistent unemployment,” estimated to be as high as 34% of the population. Furthermore, an expanding urban population, primarily youth seeking improved economic opportunities, is expected to rise significantly from 43% in 2006 to 75% by 2030. This places an incredible strain on resources and reinforces the importance of education, a struggling sector which is currently facing numerous challenges including budget cuts.

You will be assigned to one of the upper primary or secondary schools in Namibia. Schools at this level range in size from about 300 to 1,000 students and offer instruction in grades 4-12. These schools are located throughout the country and Peace Corps Volunteers teach throughout every region in Namibia, often in remote, rural areas. 

The mathematics curriculum is roughly the same as in U.S. schools for grades 6-12. Students are expected to study algebra, geometry, logarithms and differential equations in their respective grades. 

As a Volunteer, you will be under the direct supervision of the principal of the school. The weekly load for teachers can vary, but the expectation is to teach 70% of the time. Some math teachers are also asked to assist in teaching Information Communication (IC) and basic computers, arts, life skills, and occasionally English. As a valued staff member, you may also be nominated to committees that work on various aspects of administering and organizing the school. The remaining 30% of your time may come from extracurricular activities organized outside of school, such as track and field, games such as netball, soccer, and volleyball, boxing, drama, or boys and girls clubs.

This assignment will require a high level of motivation, initiative, and patience. It will also require a certain level of confidence in your abilities, an enthusiasm for working with students of different age groups (which may vary from 12-20 years old), and adults (co-teachers), as well as a good deal of creativity and flexibility. Education Volunteers will promote the principles of a learner-centered approach, focusing on interactive teaching and learning. The Namibian Education system also includes the promotion of social responsibility, arts, gender awareness, respect of cultural values, environmental awareness, and national reconciliation.

The HIV/AIDS epidemic, with a National prevalence rate of 12.6 % (Sentinel Survey 2016), is exacerbated by and further contributes to poverty in Namibia. As a result of this pervasive public health issue, you will likely play a role in helping to improve the quality of life of individuals living with and or affected by HIV and AIDS through promotion of HIV prevention activities and healthy life skills education.

You will receive training on gender challenges in Namibia as well as how to appropriately engage in HIV-related work and you will have the opportunity to implement activities that are contextually appropriate in both of these areas. As part of your work, you will also report on these efforts and their impact.

Required Skills

Competitive candidates will have one or more of the following criteria: 
• Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degree in Secondary Education with a concentration in math 
• Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degree in any discipline with secondary certification in math 
• Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degree in Math, Engineering, or Computer Science 
• Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degree in any discipline with a minor or equivalent (15 semester/22 quarter hours) in math

Desired Skills

Experience in the following areas preferred:

• Working in classrooms, particularly at the secondary or adult level, or 30+ hours of math tutoring experience with primary, middle, or high school students or adults;
• Teaching students for whom English is a second language;
• Ability to research, design, and deliver instructional materials; or
• Working with youth and adult students in any leadership capacity.

Required Language Skills

There are no pre-requisite language requirements for this position.
Though English is the official language of Namibia, the country has many different languages from an array of language families (Khoekhoe, Bantu, and Germanic). Most Volunteers encounter a variety of languages in their communities, either different dialects of the same language, or different languages entirely. Throughout Pre-service training, Volunteers will take intensive language classes and live with a local family to facilitate learning the language of their region in preparation for their service. However, self-study after arriving in their community is a must for any Volunteer wishing to be successful. It should come as no surprise that becoming highly proficient in a local language is directly linked to Volunteer success and satisfaction! 

We find that those who have prior success in learning another language are able to more quickly pick up local languages in Namibia.

Living Conditions

Namibia's two million citizens live in the second least densely populated country in the world. Still, urban centers exist in addition to a wide diversity of rural communities.

Namibia’s weather varies greatly by season. Summer can be very hot and dry and winter can be quite cool. 

Education Volunteers are provided modest housing similar to that of the community they serve. Some will live in separate housing on a school compound nearby boarding students, some will share a living space with a Namibian counterpart or on a host family's compound, while others will live in independent housing. You are guaranteed to have a private bedroom, but typically share a kitchen, living room, and other areas. 

Some homes will not have running water or electricity and some Volunteers may have to use pit latrines and bathe using a bucket. Most family compounds and clinics will have a water tap on the grounds or very nearby. Cooking in these rural areas is typically done over open fire, while others cook using simple “hot plates” with gas or electricity.

Peace Corps will provide you with a modest monthly living allowance that will enable you to buy meals and some clothing, to travel, and to generally live at the same level as community members. 

Most communities have reliable mobile phone networks where Volunteers live and/or other communication options close by for emergencies. 

You will do a great deal of walking. It provides a wonderful opportunity to participate in daily village life - to see your neighbors and (importantly) to be seen by them. It is not uncommon to walk several kilometers each day to get to school or when assisting with secondary projects. 

When traveling from site, you will use public transportation (taxis and mini-buses), sometimes for a full day or more, to get to their banking and shopping towns, the capital, or attend local and regional trainings and conferences.

You will develop social and working relationships with a variety of people, become familiar with local expectations and customs, develop an appreciation of local foods, struggle with local languages, and learn to live and work with necessities rather than comforts.

Volunteers who are of an American racial, ethnic, or national minority, or whose religious or spiritual beliefs differ from the majority of their host country may find they experience a high degree of curiosity or unwanted attention. Please be aware that American concepts of politeness and appropriate behavior are not universal. Ethnically, nationally, or racially diverse Americans may be asked where they are “actually from” or if they are “really” American. Many Volunteers turn these encounters into learning experiences, share American values, and deepen community members’ understanding of Americans.

While Namibia is generally tolerant, values and mores concerning sexual orientation and gender identity may be different from those in the U.S. Volunteers will need to be mindful of cultural norms, and use their judgment to determine the best way to approach sexual orientation and gender identity in their communities. 

Volunteers would do well to research Namibia’s history in advance of arriving in order to be better prepared to live and work in a ‘post-conflict’ area and the issues that come with its post-apartheid and colonial past. Namibia is an exceedingly diverse nation with a complex history that continues to affect it politically, economically, and socially. Living and working in Namibia means negotiating extreme economic disparity on a regular basis as well as navigating one’s own individual identities – especially around race and ethnicity - and how they may be perceived differently in Namibia because of its past. Volunteers must be aware of this and consider the stress and challenges of such. 

PC Namibia strives to educate Volunteers through training and dialogue, and is committed to supporting its Volunteers and staff around the complexities listed above.
Learn more about the Volunteer experience in Namibia: Get detailed information on culture, communications, housing, and safety — including crime statistics [PDF] — in order to make a well-informed decision about serving.

Couples Information

Peace Corps Namibia welcomes couples! For couples to be considered, your partner must qualify and be invited to serve as a:

- Secondary Education Math Teacher; or
- Secondary Education Science Teacher

Couples will live with the same host family during training. At site, couples will share housing meeting the same standards as all Volunteers. Couples will be placed at different schools within the same community. There will be time during service when couples will spend days and nights apart, such as when one is attending a meeting, routine medical appointments, etc.

Medical Considerations in Namibia

Namibia may not be able to support Volunteers with the following medical conditions: insulin-dependent diabetes; requiring a psychiatrist for psychotropic medications support; ongoing counseling.

  • The following medication(s) are not permitted for legal or cultural reasons: none identified.
  • Volunteers who should avoid the following food(s) may not be able to serve: none identified. 
  • After arrival in Namibia, Peace Corps provides and applicants are required to have an annual flu shot, to take daily or weekly medication to prevent malaria, and to receive mandatory immunizations. 

Before you apply, please review Medical Information for Applicants to learn about the clearance process and other health conditions that are difficult to accommodate in Peace Corps service.