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Namibia: Free and compulsory primary education for all

The Namibia National Teachers’ Union (NANTU), EI’s national affiliate, has applauded the Ministry of Education’s decision to provide free and compulsory education at primary level.

Jonathan Tsuseb, NANTU’s regional chairperson for the Erongo Region, praised the Minister of Education, Dr. Abraham Lyambo, for this initiative, and urged him to introduce free compulsory education in several phases to ensure all 13 regions are fully covered.

“The implementation process must also be closely monitored to ensure success,” recommended Tsuseb. He added that countless Namibian children will benefit from the planned free and compulsory education.

Careful planning and assessment needed

He underlined careful planning and assessment also needs to be carried out by the Education Ministry, since many schools fund activities through development funds to which parents contribute.

“The government should also calculate how much money schools generate and what they are able to provide for themselves through the school development funds,” said Tsuseb. “The amount of N$50 million dollars might sound a lot, but dividing it among all primary schools throughout the country might not be sufficient at all.”

Education for all

The new scheme aims to take poor and vulnerable children off the streets so that they can become active citizens as adults. The education ministry has made N$100 million available for this purpose, of which N$50 million has already been set aside for the current financial year.

Education minister Lyambo said the need for free education at primary level was proposed during a consultative meeting between stakeholders in the education sector. In the current financial year, Namibia spent N$9.4 billion on education compared to the N$8.6 billion allocated in 2011-12.

EI: Public financing necessary

“EI welcomes the Namibian Government’s decision to ensure the fundamental right to education for every child in this country,” said EI General Secretary Fred van Leeuwen. “We wish to reiterate that education is human right and that, therefore, sustained and sufficient public financing of education is necessary despite any economic downturn or budgetary contraction, in order to achieve that right for all.”

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