Namibia’s First Lady Monica Geingos said Friday that some parents stopped contributing to their children’s education when the government scrapped fees. Primary schooling has been free in Namibia since 2013, while secondary was declared free in 2016.
Delivering a keynote address during the State of Education in Windhoek, Geingos said some parents assume that free education means that they should not make any contributions. The education ministry held the event to engage stakeholders and to maintain accountability as well as to promote transparency. Since some parents are no longer involved in their children’s education, Geingos suggested that the government could explain the concept of free education.
No school, she said, has ever succeeded without the involvement of parents because the education sector alone cannot manage. “We can have a full budget for education and still have a problem with the outcome because some social realities will compromise the quality,” she further said. She cited HIV-AIDS, violence, alcohol abuse, poverty and single parenting as some of the social realities that affect children’s learning.
“Parents should be the fundamental block of their children’s mental capacity, through building conﬁdence and ensuring their presence in the children’s education,” she said. Geingos urged men, in particular, to value their presence in the education and lives of children. Extensive parental involvement, she said, ensures that primary responsibility for the protection, development and nurturing of children in a conducive environment is met and has a positive impact on their education.
Addressing the same occasion, education minister Katrina Hanse-Himarwa said following the implementation of the Universal Primary Education (UPE) and Universal Secondary Education (USE) 2013 and 2016 respectively; the ministry identiﬁed the need to access the efﬁciencies of public spending and resources allocation in the education sector. She also said providing access to education and attracting well qualiﬁed Namibian teachers to accept positions in remote areas continue to be a challenge.
According to Hanse-Himarwa, her ministry is championing the devolution process and has demonstrated a high commitment to ensure that the performance agreements reﬂect this. To date, she said, the ministry has assessed eight Regional Councils for devolution readiness and from the analysis concluded that four out of the eight should begin with capacity strengthening to assume devolved functions come 2018/19.
“While the Ministry executes its duties according to the Education Act (Act No 16 of 2001), we can only propel to greater heights and attain our mission if we have a committed workforce that complies with regulations and rules of the public service,” she said. She added that it is the duty of supervisors to supervise their staff members and to take appropriate action in every case of breach of any of the provisions of the Act, Regulations, Staff Rules, and External and Internal directives.