The Minister of Education, Arts and Culture, Katrina Hanse-Himarwa, says the ministry has made tremendous progress in soliciting inputs on the review of the Education Act.
Since the beginning of last year, she said, the ministry assigned considerable resources to vigorously engage in vital regional and stakeholder consultation in all regions on reviewing the Act.
“This consultation process has since been completed. The inputs that were received from the regions are now being validated,” she revealed last week in the National Assembly.
Currently, she said, the ministry in collaboration with UNICEF is working very hard to ensure that the Bill is finally in parliament by July to amend the current Act.
“We envisage that come 2017 the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture will have a new Education Act in place, but I want to add that we are guided by the supreme law on the issue of free education, that primary education be free, with clear reference to Article 20 of the Namibian Constitution,” she noted.
She said the validation stage means that they are at 70 percent of the process, which will ultimately lead to a final draft and Bill.
Further, she said, the ministry has never introduced policy change without a proper implementation framework.
Equally in the case of the introduction of free secondary education, she said, the ministry has provided appropriate guidelines to all regional offices, regional councils and schools to smoothen the implementation process.
“Honourable Members will remember that three years ago we introduced universal primary education using the same framework, which has been reviewed after consultations with the regions. Of course we don’t take it for granted that our staff know what to do, so guidelines are consistently being provided,” she said.
In order to guide schools, she said, formal education circular No. 7 of 2015, with the implementation guidelines, was sent to them towards the end of 2015.
According to her, regional offices have also been tasked to train all principals, both primary and secondary, on the handling and administration of the free education grants for both primary and secondary learners.
She urged regional councils to use their available accountants and finance officials to aid and provide support to schools during the implementation process.
She said that in 2015 the ministry provided N$30 million to schools to cover the months of January to March this year.
Hanse-Himarwa said that since schools require critical resources at this time of the year the ministry has processed an additional N$40 million to schools to ensure that the academic process commences smoothly.