Education bill highlights ICT in schools

Namibia’s revised and drafted bill of the Education Act of 2001 highlights technology usage in all schools, with a special emphasis placed on rural schools across the country.
This is however not easily attainable seeing that most rural towns are faced with challenges of lack of electricity and slow or no internet connection. Recommendations made in the Issues Paper of the draft bill of the revised act indicate that the act should promote technology usage in schools to cut constraints such as cost of textbooks and availability of other teaching and learning materials.
The Deputy Minister of Education Arts and Culture, Anna Nghipondoka, while stressing the importance of e-learning in schools, called for collaborative efforts between ministries for the betterment of the education system.
“The main issue is coordination between ministries. If this is done we will get far in making all our educational objectives a reality. We also have to look at funding of the education system, which is a huge challenge. The Ministry does receive funding but it is not enough, especially having to consider the fact that the bulk amount from the budget goes into the staff of the Ministry of Education,” Nghipondoka said.
According to recommendations made for the act, to integrate technologies into the education sector, the focus should be placed on processes that effectively facilitate learning using technologies and which impart and understanding of the impacts of technology on learners, schools and organisations with which they interact.
The Ministry of Education, in collaboration with the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef), recently presented the draft Education Bill to committee members of the parliamentary standing committee on human resources, social and community development.
The review of the Education Act No. 16 of 2001 kicked-off in 2015 after the ministry found the need to review the act in order to ensure that it reflects all national and international policies and legislation in education, with particular emphasis on ensuring the right to inclusive quality education for all children and it being in line with Vision 2030 goals. The revised draft of the act is awaiting parliamentary deliberations, after which it is ecpected to be turned into law.
The lack of adequate infrastructure and facilities, including school-feeding means, a lack of human resources to manage school health issues and to provide integrated on-site services, learner pregnancy rates and disciplinary measures, were some of the other issues raised.
The steering committee further recommended for the institution of comprehensive integrated school health programmes through inter-ministerial collaborations, and the support and facilitation of learning through identifying and addressing health barriers to learning, and lastly school-based comprehensive nutrition for those from the lowest wealth quintile.
According to a report compiled by Unicef, about 90% of children of the right age attend school, but only 50% of this children attend secondary school, while only 1% of the children in most remote areas who enter Grade one complete Grade 12. Meanwhile, Unicef needs about N$6.1 billion in total to complete its Social Policy, adolescent development, research and communication (SPARC) objectives for the term 2014-2018, with only N$1.3 million being in their possession.