Progress in Namibia’s education

There seems to be progress in the Namibian education system. In 2013, 54.7% of the students in grade 10 have passed their exams. So far, this is the best result in history. In 2012, 52.1% have made the step to grade 11. Apparently, the education policies of the departed former education minister Abraham Iyambo and his successor yield fruit. Iyambo started changing the education system significantly. It was him who went to a school as a construction worker in order to check the presence of the teachers which was followed by great popularity by the Namibian people. Namwandi accomplished Iyambo’s plan to offer primary education for free. Nonetheless, there is still much work to do. A passing rate of slightly more than 50% is still not satisfactory. While the enrolment rate in Namibian primary schools, according to the World Bank, lies at almost 100% with an  81% graduation rate, only approximately every second learner proceeded to secondary school in 2007. This value has probably not been increased significantly in the past six years as it was approximately on the same level in the period between 2004 and 2007. This trend continues up to the tertiary level: Less than 10% (2008) of secondary school graduates attend a tertiary institution.

It was an important step to free primary school learner from tuition fees. The enrollment rate was indeed already at almost 100% and a, for Africa, extraordinary high share completed it, but it relieved the financial pressure from the parents’ shoulders. The next step should be to offer secondary education for free. Parties already put it in their programmes for the 2014 elections. By implementing free secondary schools, it will be made possible to children with a weak financial background to go on a secondary school. Namibia urgently needs qualified employees but also graduates to strengthen the country’s economy and to reduce unemployment. This is only feasible with good basic education and equal chances for everybody. In our everyday work and the contact with Namibian firms, we recognize that there is more than enough demand for qualified young Namibians. With regard to the increasing population, an increase in demand for food but also consumer goods must be met. This can only be achieved if enough Namibians finish school and can make use of Namibian vocational training and tertiary institutions.

school enrollment, secondary (% net)

school enrollment, secondary (% net)

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