04 Nov 2018 13:10pm
WINDHOEK, 04 NOV (NAMPA) Sustainable development in Africa can only be achieved through quality education, including strong research and innovation, hence Namibias consistent allocation of the lions share of its national budget to education, President Hage Geingob has said.
He made these remarks at the first Extraordinary Summit of the Committee of Ten Heads of State and Government Champions of Education, Science and Technology in Africa in Malawi on Saturday.
Throughout his speech, Geingob shared with his African counterparts the good practices as to how Namibia has gone about in placing education at the centre of its development endeavours.
He based his presentation on four sub-themes, namely investing in education, science and technology in Africa; early childhood education and development; teacher development and harmonisation and quality assurance of higher education.
With regard to the first sub-theme, we are happy to announce that in an effort to improve access and ensure inclusivity, Namibia introduced free universal primary and secondary education in 2013 and 2016, respectively, Geingob said.
He added that Namibia envisions becoming a knowledge-based, industrialised country, as contained in its long-term development aspiration (Vision 2030).
To realise this, the acquisition of relevant skills through quality technical vocational education and training remains a priority, Geingob noted.
Under the Harambee Prosperity Plan, Namibia has committed to implementing a Comprehensive Technical Vocational Education (TVET) Transformation and Expansion Strategy to respond to its economic needs through enhanced skills development focusing on contemporary trades.
As a result, our enrolment rates at vocational and technical centres across the country have increased significantly, which will in turn facilitate job creation and spur entrepreneurship, Geingob said.
He then reminded the leaders that the key aspiration of Agenda 2063 is for Africa to be a prosperous continent based on inclusive growth and sustainable development.
We have also recognised that to achieve this aspiration requires well educated citizens and a skills revolution underpinned by science, technology and innovation competencies, the president said.
He added: Therefore, our starting point is that ultimately, there should be equitable access to education at all levels. No child should miss school due to poverty or any form of discrimination.
According to the United Nations Childrens Fund (UNICEF), Namibia in 2016/17 had the highest public education expenditure to total government spending ratio among 115 countries, and the seventh highest education expenditure as a ratio of Gross Domestic Product.
In the current 2018/19 budget, 28,6 per cent has been allocated towards education, Geingob stressed, referencing the importance of investing in education.