Achievements, Shortcomings In The Namibian Education Sector

R. A. Stegemann moogoonghwa at
Sun Mar 20 07:22:39 UTC 2005

Dear list members,

According to the CIA's World Factbook tomorrow is Namibia's
independence day.

The apparent 15 year failure of Namibia's education reforms can be
understood in part from the structure  of the national economy. The
GINI index, an important indicator of income distribution, is
extraordinarily high (70). This indicates a very large concentration of
wealth in the hands of only a tiny fraction of the people. Nearly 70
percent of the population has the choice of engaging in subsistence
agriculture or mining. Despite healthy-looking external accounts
supported largely by those who spend their working lives underground,
the national debt represents more than a third of national annual
income. These facts suggest government extravagance and worker
exploitation. Thirty-five percent of the population is unemployed.
Nineteen percent of national income is spent on gross fixed investment.
After 15 years of independence one can only wonder how this money is
being spent.

Like most African countries Namibia is hopelessly divided among many
tribes. One tribe, the Ovambo, does account for about 50% of the
population, however. The most common language appears to be Afrikaans.
It is spoken by 60% of the people. More than three times as many people
are infected with aids as there are speakers of the country's official
language -- English.

It would appear that independence from South Africa has meant little to
the people of Namibia , and that Namibia is in serious need of a
national identity around which the entire nation can rally.

Until interest is demonstrated by other list members I will withhold
further comment.


R. A. Stegemann (Hamo)
EARTH's Manager and HKLNA-Project Director
EARTH - East Asian Research and Translation in Hong Kong
Tel/Fax: 852 2630 0349

On 20 Mar 2005, at 00:58, Harold F. Schiffman wrote:

> The Free Press Of Namibia
> Friday, March 18, 2005 -
> Achievements, Shortcomings In The Namibian Education Sector
> KASHINDI AUSIKU EDUCATION is sometimes described as 'the key to
> unlocking
> human potential and creating opportunity'. With this in mind, it is
> imperative to look at what we have achieved in this field in the last
> 15
> years of our political Independence. The Government deserves credit for
> making education a top priority in terms of budget allocations for the
> last 15 years.
> This is despite the fact that such huge spending did not yield the
> envisaged returns. One of the Government's key achievements in
> education
> is the promulgation of the Education Act of 2001 (Act No 16 of 2001).
> The
> Act provides for the provision of accessible, equitable, qualitative
> and
> democratic national education service and other things.
> Government must also be applauded for building new schools. Hundreds of
> pupils have gained access to formal education, while those who can't
> find
> space have been able to continue their studies through Namcol. The
> establishment of the Education Management and Information System
> (EMIS) is
> also a positive step as statistics are very crucial and must be
> documented.
> Furthermore through some education structures such as School Boards,
> SRCs,
> Curriculum Committees/Panels, citizens have been accorded the
> opportunity
> to participate democratically in the country's education process. The
> quality of participation in these bodies varies from region to region
> and
> from school to school. However, there are still bodies that require
> significant support as they have no capacity to make significant
> contribution in education.
> SYMPTOMS OF FAILURES It is sad that despite the huge allocation of
> funds
> to education Namibia has low levels of functional literacy and high
> drop
> outs. In addition the education and training offered has failed to
> prepare
> a large number of youths to meet the skills needed in the labour
> market.
> The English language proficiency is another issue that has not improved
> much particularly in the rural schools. This contributes much to the
> high
> failure rate and hence fewer learners make it to institutions of higher
> learning. The Namibian Constitution is vague on the language policy and
> surprisingly the Education Act of 2001 is also silent on the policy.
> FAILING SCHOOLS There are a number of schools that can be classified as
> 'failing schools' as they have not improved much since Independence.
> Schools that used to produce good results prior to Independence
> continue
> to do so while a large percentage of those which used to produce poor
> results have not changed at all. In most cases poor administration,
> serious lack of initiatives and commitment from the personnel in charge
> are a recipe of poor performance at the 'failing schools'.
> The Government could have introduced performance contracts for all
> managers in education in order to make people accountable and thereby
> improve performance at all levels of education. Evolution of the
> Education
> ministries since independence Since 1990 the education ministries have
> changed names and perhaps in the process have lost focus.
> The major change was the formation of the ministries of Basic Education
> and Higher Education in 1995. Despite all these changes the question
> remains- What did the nation benefit from this evolution? One could
> comfortably say very little indeed as no significant improvements on
> quality education have been achieved.
> The end result was a huge bill to pay for salaries and perks and the
> creation of unnecessary bureaucracy. As we reflect on our achievements
> and
> failure maybe it would be in the best interest of the country to merge
> the
> two ministries again and save money.
> Pre-primary education is also the foundation of basic education and it
> was
> an error of judgement by those who made a decision to leave it in the
> hands of the community. It would be the right move to return it to
> formal
> education in order to address the high failure rate at secondary level.
> Material on this site copyright The Free Press Of Namibia (Pty) Ltd
> PO Box 20783 - Windhoek - 42 John Meinert Street
> Tel: +264 (61) 279600 - Fax: +264 (61) 279602
-------------- next part --------------
A non-text attachment was scrubbed...
Name: not available
Type: text/enriched
Size: 6274 bytes
Desc: not available
URL: <>

More information about the Lgpolicy-list mailing list