MPs Agree to Promote Teacher Quality and Improved Pupil-Teacher Ratios

0
11

By Wezi Tjaronda WINDHOEK African Parliamentarians for Education (FAPED) who met in Mangochi, Malawi, last week have agreed to ensure that a strong education foundation is built among the most vulnerable in their countries by the time they meet again in 2007. They will also take action to promote girls’ access to quality early child-care and education, basic and continuing education to assist in achieving the gender parity goals of Education for All in all levels of education. Twenty-five parliamentarians from 10 countries in the Southern Africa Chapter of Forum for Education who attended the meeting also agreed to promote teacher quality and improved pupil-teacher ratios where necessary. The meeting was aimed at enhancing the Mps’ understanding on the gains and challenges of Education for All (EFA) especially in southern Africa and also to determine actions to improve access to and quality of early child-care and education in their individual countries. The parliamentarians from the ten countries, namely: Namibia, Angola, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Swaziland, also met to determine the actions they will take during the next two years to improve networking and to mobilize resources within the continental FAPED to further provide access to quality of Education for All. The objective of FAPED is to strengthen the capacity of MPs in EFA including advocacy for resource mobilization and allocation. Speaking at the meeting, Elia George Kaiyamo said Namibia was among the few countries in which rapid change occurred regarding pre-primary gross enrolment ratios (GERs). The others are Madagascar, Tunisia and Cameroon. Among the 42 countries for which the 1999 date is available, GERs in three-quarters of the countries increased less than five percentage points, with Namibia recording 28.9 percent. These statistics, including those of gender disparities in pre-primary education, adult literacy and youth literacy, indicate that Namibia is doing well although it has not met the objectives of EFA. Namibia is amongst countries where gender disparity favours girls and stood at 1.12 in 2004. Statistics also indicate that adult literacy in Namibia has improved from 75 percent in 1990 to 85 percent between 2000 and 2004. It is projected that the country will attain 85 percent in 2015. Compared to Botswana, adult literacy was 68 in 1990 and improved to 81 percent between 2000 and 2004 and projections are that the country will reach 88 percent in 2015. Kaiyamo said that since the Livingstone meeting in 2005, Namibian Parliamentarians have been advocating for an increased budget for Education. And to acquaint themselves with conditions of schools in the regions, the Committee on Human Resources, Social and Community Development visited Omaheke and Hardap regions in August 2006. The Livingstone meeting agreed to continue advocating for the enactment of laws and increased budget for education and to establish FAPED chapters in each Parliament.