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The Programme Basic Education Namibia

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During the time of apartheid the education system in Namibia was essentially focussed on the white minority. With Independence in 1990, the Government of the Republic of Namibia introduced far-reaching reforms in order to eliminate these disparities allocating annually up to 28% of the government budget to the education sector.

Village School in the north of Namibia And there are first signs of improvement visible: Compulsory school attendance up to the age of 16 or up to the end of grade 10. Girls have equal access to the education system. The rate of enrolment could be increased to 95%, and 82% of all learners reach the end of the seven-year primary education cycle. More schools and classrooms could be built. More teachers could be employed in order to meet the increasing number of learners, whereas the percentage of qualified teachers could be increased. The learner:teacher ratio could be lowered to 30:1.

As much as the Namibian Government had been committed to improve access to and quality of basic education and despite all previous efforts and above mentioned successes, the education system is still showing serious weaknesses regarding coverage and provision of education, and in particular with respect to the quality of education. The quality of teaching and the performance of learners is still unsatisfactory, especially in urban and rural poverty areas.

At the end of grade 6 only 25% of the learners have acquired sufficient competencies in the learning areas of English and Mathematics. Only 40% of all learners pass grade 7 without repeating a year. On average 13 school years are needed to pass the final examinations for grade 10. Almost 40% of the teachers do not have senior secondary school leaving examinations, and 28% of those teach without formal pedagogical qualifications.

Picture of a white school in Windhoek Since Independence Namibia introduced various measures to decentralise the provision and delivery of education services. The process of public sector reform as well as to introduce strategies to improve the quality of education planning and management are still ongoing and at times very tedious.

However, in the context of the decentralisation of public services the education sector as the largest public sector is having a leading role. It is envisaged that in future, recruitment and transfer of teachers as well as timely and adequate budget planning and administration will be decentralised to the 13 Regional Councils.

Presently, the Ministry of Education is drafting a holistic and comprehensive strategy for the education sector, the Education and Training Sector Improvement Programme (ETSIP). As a reform programme for the next 15 years, the ETSIP is aligning the entire education system towards the needs of the 21st century and Namibia's VISION 2030.

German bilateral development cooperation through the Basic Education Programme (BEP/AfriLa) is incorporated in the overall strategy of ETSIP.

last update: September 2006