Windhoek-The Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture has reiterated that its implementation guidelines still stand regarding commemoration of the Day of the African Child.
Following wide consultations last year the ministry issued a directive that the Day of the African Child should be commemorated formally at schools this year. This confirmation follows queries and complaints by some parents and teachers who wanted to know why learners have to go to school if the Day of the African Child is listed as a public holiday in Namibia.
However, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture, Sanet Steenkamp, told New Era the directive remains as decided last year.
“The circular is very clear,” she said.
The circular which Steenkamp signed last year November 30 and addressed to education stakeholders clearly states the Day of the African Child should not be a formal teaching day, but commemoration and awareness activities should take place that will be beneficial and of value to learners.
The addressees included the education minister and her deputy, chief regional officers,
deputy permanent secretaries, education directors and their deputies, chief inspectors, inspectors, chief education officers, education officers, school counsellors, school principals, heads of department, teachers and the Namibia National Teachers’ Union (Nantu), among other education organisations.
In 1991, the African Union Assembly passed a resolution declaring June 16 as Day of the African Child.
The day presents an opportunity for all stakeholders on children’s rights including the government, non-governmental organisations and international agencies to reflect on issues affecting children on the African continent.
Steenkamp in the circular stated that with the commemoration of the day, Namibians have the opportunity to evaluate the progress made with regard to implementation of children’s rights and the challenges the nation continues to face towards the full realization of the rights of children in Africa.
Further, the circular says school principals, teachers and learners must take a collective meaning in commemorating this important day at the school from 07h30 to 13h00.
It further states that each school should prepare a programme that includes activities such as invited guests or motivational speakers, poems, dramas and cultural dances to dedicate to the special day.
A report, the circular stipulates, should be written by every school principal and needs to be forwarded through the circuit inspector to the director of education, arts and culture in the respective regions.
The director will then submit a regional report on commemoration of the day to the permanent secretary by August 1 this year.
The Education Act of 2001, No. 16, specifically section 37 (1), empowers the minister to determine, after consultation with the National Advisory Council, the annual school calendar, in particular the number of days in the academic year which in turn determines the minimum hours of instruction.
Therefore, upon deliberations by the National Advisory Council and their recommendations presented to the Minister of Education, Arts and Culture Katrina Hanse-Himarwa, the school calendar for 2017 was officially released on November 3, 2016 and the Day of the African Child was indicated as a day to be commemorated formally at school.