22 Mar 2016 17:00pm
WINDHOEK, 22 MAR (NAMPA) - Over 100 learners from secondary schools in Windhoek marched to Parliament building on Friday to express gratitude for free secondary education.
They are from Concordia College; Khomas High School; Windhoek Technical High School; Dawid Bezuidenhout High School, Cosmos High School and Hochland High School.
The group started their march of gratitude at the Concordia College in the Rocky Crest residential area of the capital to Parliament, about 5.2kilometres away.
Free secondary education was introduced at the start of this year, and free primary education in 2013.
Government availed about N.dollars 30 million for the 2015/16 financial year for the implementation of free secondary education from January to March 2016.
Minister of Education, Art and Culture, Katrina Hanse-Himarwa at the beginning of this year that the government will allocate about N.dollars 120 million for free secondary education at the end of March.
As per a Cabinet resolution, the government abolished the compulsory payment of school development fund to schools from 2016 onward. This means that all public schools except for private schools and Namibian College of Open Learning (Namcol) will not pay school development fund.
The implementation of fee secondary education also means learners are exempted from paying Grade10 and 12 examination fees.
Speaking to Nampa during the procession, Ginola Nausea from Concordia College said Namibian children are privileged to wear school uniforms unlike in other countries where children aged 18 and below wear factory uniforms, army uniforms or revealing clothes for prostitution [because they did not finish school]. We have come to honour our government for investing billions just to make sure every child becomes somebody, she noted.
Uushota Handura from Windhoek Technical School said their march, a few days before Namibia celebrates its 26th year of independence on 21 March, aims to express gratitude to the Namibian Government for schools they are privileged to attend and for teachers who are dedicated, passionate and hardworking.
Indila Oherein from Dawid Bezuidenhout thanked the government for free education and for taking the necessary steps for poverty eradication. She said Government enable street kids to get an education, and moulding them because they are our future generation.
Alido Moesha de Klerk from Cosmos said: We thank you for the privilege of free education. Without you, this would not have been possible and giving us the opportunity to a great future ahead.
Elizabeth Amuulo from Hochland High felt that a good and secure learning environment is every parents dream for their children, and by maintaining peace, democracy and introducing free education, the Namibian government has realised these dreams.
The Director in the Office of the Speaker of the National Assembly (NA), Gerson Tjihenuna received the learners on behalf of NA Speaker Peter Katjavivi.
If as a young man I could study before independence what will stop you now that you have free education. So, study because without education you can do nothing much because education is the most important equaliser, he told the learners.
Before the implementation of free secondary education, learners were expected to pay between N.dollars 500 and N.dollars 2 000 at different schools.
The Namibian Constitution directs the government to provide free primary and secondary education. However, uniforms, some stationery and books, hostels, and school improvements must be paid for by learners.
Namibia allocates more than 20 per cent of its national budget on education.
Education in Namibia is compulsory for 10 years between the ages of six and 16.
Several teachers from those schools were present during the march, as well as Swapo-Party Youth League Secretary for Information, Publicity and Mobilisation, Neville Andre Itope.