19 Feb 2018 17:00pm
WINDHOEK, 19 FEB (NAMPA) A total of N.dollars 52 million was spent on the expansion of pre-primary education during the 2017/18 financial year, Minister of Education, Arts and Culture, Katrina Hanse-Himarwa has revealed.
In her address at the official opening ceremony and launch of the Integrated Early Childhood Development (IECD) Framework here Monday, Hanse-Himarwa said close to N.dollars 2 million was allocated to the purchase of resources and teaching, as well as learning support materials for special schools.
The three-day event under the theme Act together Investing in the Early Years of Our Children for a Prosperous Nation aims to design programmes to improve education quality and provide Namibias youngest citizens with a solid foundation for learning.
Government fully recognises that with an improved foundational phase, which is the years of pre-primary to Grade 3, the quality of education can immensely improve, she said.
Hanse-Himarwa emphasised that the new curriculum stipulates that adequate nutrition, stimulation, care and support have a huge impact on the quality of education and that this was lacking in the previous curriculum.
However, she noted that many children with disabilities are not identified early enough to receive the necessary early interventions, while those from poor and vulnerable communities go to early childhood development centres on empty stomachs.
Hanse-Himarwa said access to early childhood development has expanded from about 17 000 children in 2011/12 to more than 40 000 taught in more than 1 800 class groups.
Though the coverage is not yet at half of all eligible 5 to 6-year-old children, the ministry remains committed to expand further over the next five years to achieve 80 per cent access to pre-primary, she said.
She acknowledged that although investing at this early stage of life is rewarded by the creation of a society that is healthier and more equitable, investment in early childhood development remains insufficient.