At the end of last year, our essay competition took place. We ask our followers to write an essay of approximately 1000 words on a specific topic. This time it dealt with free education in Namibia. The task was the following:
Primary education is free already. Is it the right way to expand free education to secondary and tertiary level, too?
Besides discussing whether free education is useful or not, please consider as well how free education could be financed.
A jury out of two members from Welwitschia in Namibia and two of Welwitschia in Germany selected the winner of N$750: Sem Uutoni. He studies in Hungary and convinced the jury with his well-structured essay dealing with the most important factors including the question how to finance free education. Find below the winning essay:
Access to education is credibly a prominent pillar of sustainable development and economic prosperity of any country. The introduction of free primary education in Namibia is a substantial step in improving access to education nationwide; however this could also result into a blockage if the citizens cannot access the other levels of education that is why it is essential to expand free education to secondary and tertiary level. The importance of education cannot be overemphasized, an educated nation forms basis for social and economic development. Without an education nation the human pursuits of economy, society and culture cannot be sustained. By placing a prerequisite importance and accessibility to all levels of education in Namibia, the country will create an enabling environment for its citizens to thrive and continue to make significant contributions to the development and advancement of the country.
Expansion of free education to secondary and tertiary levels is a good move in Namibia. Having one level of education free, and the other paid for will create a shortage of educated citizens and it will create blockage whereas a large number of pupils will drop out of school after primary school, this two issues are ultimately what free education wants to tackle. Namibia has attained great strides in achieving national and global education goals. With the establishment of free primary education, Namibia has just achieved the Millennium Development Goal 2, which aims to achieve universal primary education. Considering the recent adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals, this is the best time for Namibia to expand free education to secondary and tertiary levels as well. The new goals embody quality education at all levels a priority and there is also access to different funding mechanisms available.
While free education is good initiative, it is essential that the quality of education is maintained. It is imperative that the government establishes and implements regulations and standards that will ensure the quality of the education system doesn’t deteriorate should free education be adopted. Furthermore, the establishment of free education at secondary and tertiary levels will not entail that every student will get admission, however it entails that all the students that meet the requirements of the specific course or institution will gain admission and access to free education. This highlights the fact that students still need to work hard to attain the best grades they can and to gain admission and benefit from free education.
Free education not only benefits the students however it can significantly impact the economy and economic development of the country in the long run. Education improves the skills, knowledge and the abilities of the citizens; this will lead these individuals into to being agents of positive change in their communities. Education further increases the productivity, improves efficiency and helps the citizens optimally use the available resources to increase and improve productivity. Education further fuels innovation and entrepreneurship and this has enormous benefits to a country’s development. All these factors help the country achieve social and economic development, and this helps the overall prosperity of and country, and it improves the wellbeing and standard of living of the inhabitants.
Funding free education at all levels in Namibia is attainable and will not big a major challenge. Namibia’s small population will make it easier for the government to plan and allocate resources to the education sector without many barriers. In the past years, much of the National Budget was allocated to education sector; doubling or tripling that amount would make it sufficient to cover for free education. Namibia as a country can set up a quota that every industry has to contribute towards the education fund per month. Industries like mining, fishing, agriculture and tourism contribute greatly to the GDP of the country, if a mechanisms can be establish that would allow this industries to pay a certain percentage to education fund per month this will provide money that can be used to fund free education at all levels. The country can further explore funding opportunities from organizations such as the United Nations and the Official Development Assistance through the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.
Finally, the author concludes that the role of state in a country in any country is to invest in the future and welfare of its citizens. Education is a great tool that can be used to lift people out of poverty in an irreversible manner. Quality education is a catalyst towards achieving and accessing factors that contribute to human wellbeing such as employment; health; access to housing and access to water and food ultimately this leads to social development and improvement in human wellbeing. The success of these free education aspirations lies not only in the hands of government but substantially in the hands of its citizens, it is therefore essential for the government to create platforms that empower citizens and gives them an opportunity to partake actively and contribute to this aspiration. The Namibian government has done a phenomenal job so far in availing student loans, bursaries, grants and scholarships, however there a huge potential that exists in improving and increases access to education in Namibia for all.