Pamphlet on San children’s right to education launched

15 Oct 2014 14:40pm
WINDHOEK, 15 OCT (NAMPA) – The Namibia San Council launched an advocacy brochure on San children’s right to education on Wednesday.
The pamphlet was published by the Working Group of Indigenous Minorities in Southern Africa (WIMSA), with the support of the Embassy of Finland as part of a project called “Access to Inclusive Education”.
Speaking at the launch, Finland’s Ambassador to Namibia, Anne Saloranta said the Embassy of Finland had funded WIMSA for a two-year project aimed at promoting education for indigenous children in Namibia, as well as strengthening the structures and operations of the Namibia San Council.
The ultimate goal of the project is to contribute towards bridging the gap between policy and practice. It also critically examined systems which are intended for inclusive education.
The activities of the project have included support for Early Childhood Development (ECD) centres, capacity-building amongst communities through the members of the San Council, and support for San students from primary to tertiary level.
The embassy’s support for indigenous minorities comes from the Fund for Local Cooperation, which is a funding instrument administered by the Embassy of Finland and guided by the Finnish Government’s Development Policy.
Saloranta said one of the cross-cutting themes of the Finnish government’s support for development is the reduction of inequality.
“Particular attention is paid to the rights and equal participation opportunities of people who are vulnerable, socially-excluded and discriminated against,” she stated.
WIMSA is one of the organisations in Namibia which operate amongst indigenous San minorities who are at risk in this manner.
The ambassador went on to say that the United Nations (UN) has declared that education is a fundamental human right, and essential for the exercise of all human rights.
It promotes individual freedom and empowerment, and yields important development benefits.
“Indeed, education is something everyone should have equal rights and access to.
The target by the year 2015 is to ensure that children everywhere, both boys and girls, will be able to complete a full course of primary schooling.
According to the latest interim report, Namibia has already reached its target in the net enrolment in primary education,” Saloranta added.
At the same event, WIMSA’s education office manager, Kingston Makoni said although a lot of progress has been made in achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), a lot of ‘unfinished business’ remains, especially when it comes to San children’s right to education.
Many young San children enrolled in primary schools are not being taught in their mother-tongue, despite the existence of policies which promote the right to education in their mother-tongue.
“While calling for action to address the multiple barriers which keep children, in particular San children, out of school, the brochure puts the spotlight on a number of articles in our constitution, policies as well as international agreements which Namibia is part of which promote the right to education for San children,”Makoni said.