Tutaleni I. Asino
Blog Post

Yes minister: a visit to the ministry of Education


I had an opportunity to meet with Namibia’s Deputy Minister of Education, Dr. David Richard Namwandi. Prior to his current position, he was founder and Vice Chancellor of the International University of Management (IUM), which is the only fully Accredited Private University in Namibia. The University has grown since its founding in 1993 and now has four campuses in the country. I though Having founded a school and now a minister been in charge As an educator, and now a national policy chief and education leader,As the second in command of Namibia’s very complex educational system, he was naturally concerned with the issue of access to technology and how students can use various technologies for learning. Our conversation included the use of mobile devices in education, which gave me an opening to get him to interact with the iPad and explain what I have been doing over the past two months in Namibia.His reaction was consistent with everyone else that I have met, in that he was impressed by the design and excited about the possibilities the device offered. The one thing that the minister seemed to be interested in more than other aspects was the iBook library. Having that many books available at his fingertips and being able to load PDFs as well as other documents on such a portable device seemed to be very appealing.

iBook as a selling point:
ipad-ibook.jpgThe iBook application is the one thing that everyone who has interacted with the iPad seemed most impressed by. Students of all ages get excited by the animation of flipping pages, and by the possibility of being able to carry “one book” that has many other books inside, instead of having a heavy backpack. Administrators (including the minister), are excited by the above as well, but also see it as a way to address the cost and updating of textbooks. The opportunity to access many of the free books that are available for download is also a draw for administrators and adults, and perhaps not surprisingly, students rarely got excited by that aspect.It would be interesting to look at the effect that the iBook has on motivating people of all ages to read books and the role it plays as a motivator for purchasing the iPad.

Date written: 20 July 2010
Word count: 381