By Frederick Philander GOBABIS Namibia like many other nations all over the world view access to quality education as a pre-requisite for the attainment of the country’s development goals. This was said by the Deputy Minister of Education, Dr Becky Ndjoze-Ojo, when she delivered a keynote address at Wennie du Plessis Secondary School at Gobabis on Friday. The occasion was the inauguration of the school’s computer laboratory that is sponsored by the Bank of Namibia to the tune of N$300 000. “The Government recognizes the fact that education is one of the key inputs for economic development, for the development of a knowledge driven society, for human welfare, collective progress and environmental protection as highlighted in Vision 2030,” Ndjoze-Ojo said. The staff, learners and invited guests from the local community were entertained by lively dance and singing performances from associations at the secondary school. “It is now time that we provide education, especially ICT education, to our children as an area that can enable us to have a great deal of leverage in the delivery of quality education and thereby improving the lives of the Namibian nation now and in the future. ICT in schools is of paramount importance for the improvement of the welfare of our people,” Ndjoze-Ojo, who referred to technology as contributing towards quality education outcomes, said. She was optimistic about the future of the country depending on what it could offer to the youth. “We need to provide our youth with adequate knowledge, skills, attitudes, which will enable them to cope with the challenges of a rapidly changing scientific and technological world. “That is why it is imperative that we expose our children to ICT’s. Namibia is determined to improve access to it for the acceleration of socioeconomic development, the promotion of friendship, mutual cooperation, peaceful co-existence and cultural and political stability in both urban and rural areas,” she said. She thanked the Bank of Namibia for its assistance and for introducing technology at schools and encouraged other instances in the private sector to do like- wise. “Investing more resources and committing more energy to our public schools is a national priority, not only because it is morally right to equip children with resources they need to succeed in life, but also because it is in our economic self-interest to do so. In an economy where jobs are looking for skilled labor and where unskilled labor is looking for employment, it is critical that we expand the supply of skilled labor in the new economy to ensure economic growth,” the deputy minister said. The Governor of the Bank of Namibia, Tom Alweendo, in handing over computers and software to Wennie du Plessis Secondary School emphasized the fact that the equipment is meant to train learners and not to be used for administration functions. “As a nation, we need to take on the challenges of education if we are to succeed. The Namibian Government cannot do so alone. We need to be able to confidently compete with other nations in the global village. Therefore, it is more serious than just service delivery. Hence the fact that what we are starting here today – we want to cement over the next five years and beyond,” Alweendo, who encouraged the school to present computer literacy as a subject, said. “If these computers are not going to be used as a teaching tool, but an administration tool, then it will serve no real purpose. Experience has taught us that such equipment handed to similar education institutions have remained unused and are gathering dust,” the governor of the Bank of Namibia warned.