The cornerstone of learning

Ingrid Kloppers-Mettler is determined, focused and passionate about learning.

02 August 2019 | People

Evany Van Wyk

Ingrid Kloppers-Mettler is the founder and managing director of International Training College-Lingua in Windhoek, a registered and accredited private college.

Kloppers-Mettler is known as a woman of stature and she has worked hard to be able to be regarded as such.

She grew up as the youngest of 15 children. She is the proof in the pudding of a woman reaching great heights, despite sometimes facing challenging circumstances.

In a time when bursaries to study were scarce, Kloppers-Mettler was given a choice by her father: Go and study education or don’t study at all. She made the smart choice and went on to complete her bachelor’s degree and higher education diploma at the University of the Western Cape (UWC) in South Africa. Later she also completed a B.Ed. post-graduate degree at the University of Namibia (Unam), as well as a certificate in the teaching of French as a foreign language, a master’s degree in French and various certificates in education and French.

“I’m proud to say I was a co-writer for the Namibian grade 10 French textbook in 1999,” said Kloppers-Mettler.

According to her, coming from a large family who are all educators was not always easy. “My father was the first principal of Ella du Plessis High School and he insisted that all his daughters have qualifications in education,” she said.

Her mom, Richardine Kloppers, was also the first person to start a multiracial school in Namibia under a tree in the Old Location. This school became St Andrews Primary School, located in Richardine Kloppers Street in Khomasdal. Coming from such an educational family, Kloppers-Mettler was not eager to study teaching. “I didn’t want to be like all the others, so I was not very excited,” she said. She, however, soon realised that she loved teaching. “What can I say, it’s in my blood.”

Kloppers-Mettler started her teaching career at Ella Du Plessis High School and moved from there to Jan Jonker Afrikaner Secondary School. After four years of teaching she was promoted to an education officer for local and foreign languages at the National Institute for Educational Development (NIED). While teaching at Jan Jonker Afrikaner, she enrolled at Unam for an honours degree in history and German.

Kloppers-Mettler then received a bursary from the French Mission of Culture and Cooperation to study towards a teaching certificate in French, with the aim to introduce this subject into the public secondary school curriculum. Jan Jonker Afrikaner became the chosen school. Kloppers-Mettler seemed to attract a lot of bursaries.

Being confronted with financial difficulties during this time, with only N$33 in her pocket, left her with no choice but to offer French, Afrikaans, English and basic computer classes, with only one laptop, in her one-bedroom apartment. Due to public demand, the study project soon became bigger than anticipated and was adjusted to include this demand. “I was prompted to resign from my position at the school, in order to continue full-time with the implementation of my project,” she explained.

In 2003, Kloppers-Mettler got married and in 2004 her husband Leon Mettler joined her as a managing director at Lingua.

“From a one-woman show in 2002, the college currently has an advisory board, 71 full-time employees, part-time lecturers, external verifiers, external moderators and external invigilators,” she proudly said.

Recently, she was chosen for the Stanford Seed programme, a collaboration between the Stanford Graduate School of Business and the De Beers Group that assists entrepreneurs in emerging markets to build thriving enterprises that transform lives. The programme assists leaders of established businesses with training and networking, so that the success of their business helps to lead their regions to greater prosperity.

Additionally, Kloppers-Mettler is also a member of academic organisations and was nominated for businesswoman of the year in 2017 and was inducted into the Namibian business hall of fame in 2018.

Kloppers-Mettler’s dream is to complete her doctorate. “Despite having registered for a doctorate in higher education a few times, I was forced to put these studies on hold, due to the extensive developments at International Training College-Lingua,” she said. According to her, the plan is to continue with her studies, with the hope to complete them within the next two to three years. She describes herself as a quiet person, although she admits that many would differ. “I tend to talk a lot, but I generally love being on my own,” said Kloppers-Mettler.

It’s clear that there are great things in store for Lingua.

Quoting the late Maya Angelo, Kloppers-Mettler said: “My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humour, and some style.” As a leader, Kloppers-Mettler tries to take people where they want to go, but more so, “I take people where they don’t necessarily want to go, but ought to be”.

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