Regulate private schools: Iipumbu

12 Oct 2018 09:50am
WINDHOEK, 12 OCT (NAMPA) – The Basic Education Bill must regulate private schools to deal with their proliferation, as well as below par infrastructure and teacher qualifications at some schools.
Deputy Minister of Industrialisation, Trade and SME Development, Lucia Iipumbu made these suggestions in the National Assembly when she gave her input on the Bill on Thursday.
She was particularly concerned about the standards of infrastructure and capacity at State schools as outlined in the draft legislation.
“With the mushrooming of private schools in Namibia, the sector must also be regulated. Some of the private schools’ infrastructure is not conducive to learning and studying,” she said.
The lawmaker, however, conceded that is difficult for Government to regulate private schools.
Iipumbu also suggested that the Namibian Competition Commission be roped in to determine and regulate the fees charged by private schools.
She lamented that some local private schools charge more than institutions of higher learning, something which is a cause for concern.
“We recall the public outcry when some of these fees were released by the media where in some instances, schools are around N.dollars 70 000 for a pupil per year,” she said.
Other concerns raised by the deputy minister included what she termed “dehumanising treatment” that learners at some private schools are subjected to if their parents do not pay their school fees.
“It was reported that some (schools) even give learners different cards; green for those who have paid and red for those who still owe, for the purpose of restricting them from entering the class,” she added.
Furthermore, Iipumbu charged that a host of private schools hire under-qualified or unqualified teachers or expatriates so as to underpay them or evade tax.
“In terms of qualification and employment tax, the private schools should be subjected to the national requirements,” she said, adding that doing would safeguard employment opportunities for young Namibian graduates.
The deputy minister requested that the Ministry of Home Affairs and Immigration monitor some of the private schools who are suspected of such actions.
If passed into law, the draft legislation will replace the Education Act of 2001 to better reflect Namibia's development aspirations.