19 Nov 2013 18:00pm
WINDHOEK, 19 NOV (NAMPA) - The Minister of Education says Namibia has made tremendous progress in improving the quality of the teaching force, with 78 per cent of primary education teachers now properly qualified to teach at that level.
Dr David Namwandi, who was speaking at the launch of the Namibia Education Transition Fund (NETF) in the capital last Friday, was however quick to point out that there are still many challenges facing the education sector despite this progress.
These challenges, he explained, include gaps in access to Early Childhood Development (ECD) and pre-primary education and concerns about the quality of teachers at the lower primary grades, particularly in rural areas where the working and living conditions are not attractive for young graduates.
The challenges also include the implementation of some good policies that have not been translated to concrete actions for the benefit of the children.
The Education Minister added that closing the gap between the investments made into the education sector and the value-for-money gained in the form of commensurate improvements in the quality of education is another challenge that still needs to be addressed.
He noted that access to quality education for all Namibian children is fundamental.
Every Namibian child should have the opportunity to play an active, productive and successful role in the development of our beloved and cherished Namibia, he said.
Namwandi also pointed that education remains a costly endeavour, and there are still a lot of funding gaps despite the high inputs by the government.
The Government of the Republic of Namibia remains committed to provide resources to sustain the education and training system. I promise you that I will not spare any effort to optimise the utilisation of the resources that we have to mobilise contributions towards the Namibia Education Transition Fund (NETF), he said.
The Education Minister therefore appealed to all the partners in development to pledge their commitment to the NETF, saying the Fund will mobilise additional resources and technical assistance to enhance the capacity and efficiency of the governance and accountability system of the education sector at all levels.
The Fund will also accelerate access to quality ECD and education, restore the professional status of teachers, and motivate teachers to deliver quality education of global standards while ensuring that all Namibian children regardless of their social and economic backgrounds have equal access to quality education, he said
Namwandi noted that the successful implementation of the NETF will not only reassure Namibia's confidence to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) but will also position the education sector for larger strides in the post 2015 Agenda for Children.
This initiative is very timely because it comes at a time when the Ministry of Education is in the midst of implementing universal primary education, and is well-aligned to the efforts to provide free and compulsory primary education to all children in Namibia, he said.
The NETF is a funding mechanism to strengthen support from development partners towards the governments efforts to reduce disparities in the education sector and provide quality education.
The NETF is a four-year programme initiated by the United Nations Childrens Fund (UNICEF).