Universal Children's Day commemorated

23 Nov 2015 08:10am


Minister of Education, Arts and Culture, Katrina Hanse-Himarwa says parents must take advantage of the free primary and secondary education in Namibia to eradicate poverty.

The minister said this when she addressed the community of the Khomasdal North Constituency during the commemoration of Universal Children's Day in the capital on Friday. The day originally celebrated the United Nations (UN) Convention on the Rights of the Child, and was in 2014 renamed Universal Children's Day.

This year's theme is 'For every child, a fair chance'. The minister said education is the greatest equaliser.

"Now that we have free primary and secondary education, I urge the entire Namibian nation and the constituency of Khomasdal North in particular to send their children to education institutions. Once a child from an impoverished house has been educated, that single child can bring about a change in that house," she said.

The Namibian Government in 2014 implemented free primary education and is preparing for the implementation of free secondary education in 2016. During the event, a report, titled 'For every child, a fair chance: The promise of equality' by the United Nations Children's Fund (Unicef) was also released. The report presents a statistical picture of how the world's most marginalised children have fared against basic human development indicators.

It amongst others states that while primary school enrolment worldwide has been increasing steadily, the reduction in the number and proportion of out-of-school children has stalled since 2007, largely because of population growth in sub-Saharan Africa. The report further states that based on estimates for 2013, some 59 million boys and girls are still missing out on their right to primary school education.

It also notes that children from the poorest households are five times more likely to be out of school than those from the wealthiest. Unicef country representative in Namibia, Micaela Marques de Sousa, said during the event at the Khomasdal Constituency Office the Children's Fund has committed itself to working with the Namibian Government and all stakeholders to give every child, especially those who are most disadvantaged, a fair chance in life.

"This will enable us to break the intergenerational cycles of inequity and poverty and realise universal child rights," she said. Since July this year, Unicef has provided books and material to over 22 libraries in 11 regions across the country.

The celebration also marked the handing over of 83 boxes of library material to the Khomasdal Constituency, while the Ministry of Education resource centre in the Katutura Intermediate Hospital library will receive 36 boxes of library material. The Tuwilika Training Institute has already received 19 boxes of material.

"We believe that these books will benefit our children and young people of these communities who do not have access to information, especially the much-needed reference books when doing research and homework," De Sousa said.

Also present at the event were the councillor of the Khomasdal North Constituency, Margaret Mensah-Williams; and Celest Feris, a control social worker in the Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare.

The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) was adopted by the General Assembly on 20 November 1989 and has been ratified by 196 countries.

By ratifying the CRC, governments have demonstrated their commitment in making an investment in the wellbeing of its children, and thus in the future of its society. The CRC sets out the civil, political, economic, social, health and cultural rights of children.