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By: Kelvin Chiringa 

The question of how free is Namibia’s free education regime got its answers this week at the People’s Primary School. 

Parents were pushed into the corner to either fork out money as voluntary parent contributions or risk not getting their children’s reports. 

Several parents on Wednesday failed to collect the reports of their Grade 7 children because of failure to pay N$500. 

The parents have lamented that Covid-19 has left them financially challenged and accused the school administration of forcing them to pay a sum that is meant to be voluntary. 

The parents were served with letters to make good of their payments either once-off or in instalments. 

“I am unemployed because of Covid-19. So I do not know what to do now. They are just telling me that they can show me the report, whether the child passed or not. And what they can do is… for us to pay. That’s all they want. This report is closing all the doors for my child to move forward,” narrated a mother who identified herself only as Bertha.

Others who spoke on anonymity expressed that the dream of free education is being questioned as the school pressures parents to pay.  

The school heads of departments (HOD) and the acting principal have expressed that the parents only pay $N500 for one year needed for printing reports and school refurbishment.

HOD Uavangua Mbuzuva said, “Education is free in the government’s mind but not accessible because the contribution we got when this country got independent is not what we are getting right now from the government’s side.

“There is no free life at all! We have 1 500 learners, and for that, you get N$150 000. What is that? Or less than that for six months. And you have to run a school on that? So, please, parents, this is our school.” 

The administrators also told Eagle FM that schools in town were not having issues because parents pay with little to no questions, as much as N$1 000.

 Martha Eliphas, an HOD, said that some of the teachers and parents in the school’s structures are behind the complaints against APP’s request for parents to pay their dues or risk not getting their children’s reports. 

Why then is the administration forcing for a voluntary payment? 

“My dearest, that means you are willing to pay. You can afford to pay. But what if all the parents all of a sudden claim that they are unable to pay? How are we going to run the administration of the school?

“For instance, if none of the parents paid, how do they expect to be issued with these report cards they need now? Yesterday we were running up and down busy making some copies, printing these report cards,” she said. 





Kelvin Chiringa

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