Transforming education to respond to industrial needs… Social Transformation: Part 1

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Staff Reporter

Windhoek-The Fifth National Development Plan (NDP5), which was recently launched by President Geingob, is the 5th NDP in the series of a total of seven National Development Plans that are to implement and achieve the objectives and aspirations of Namibia’s long-term vision, Vision 2030. In sequence, NDP5 will be the third five-year implementation vehicle towards Vision 2030 and will be implemented from the financial year 2017/18 up until 2021/22.

The NDP5 framework is organised around the four interconnected pillars that are founded on the principles of sustainable development, namely: economic progression; social transformation; environmental sustainability; and good governance. These pillars are aligned with Namibia’s commitment to eradicate poverty and inequality as outlined in Vision 2030, the Harambee Prosperity Plan (2016), and the Swapo Party Manifesto (2014).

Additionally, the pillars support the global and continental development frameworks to which Namibia is committed. These include Agenda 2030, Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), The Paris Agreement (CoP21); African Union (AU) Agenda 2063 and SADC Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP).

Within these contexts, Namibia commits itself to enhancing growth and economic diversification while addressing challenges that include a high degree of regulation and a mismatch between the skill levels in Namibia’s workforce and the skills demanded by the labour market. NDP5 identifies five game changers that will move Namibia from a reactive, input-based economy towards a proactive, high performing economy. The game changers are: Increase investment in infrastructure development; Increase productivity in agriculture, especially for smallholder farmers; Invest in quality technical skills development; Improve value addition in natural resources; Achieve industrial development through local procurement.

Higher Education
Where We Are
The quality and relevance of university education has been a serious concern of both private and public sector employers. Post-graduate education continues to be underdeveloped and its contribution to research and innovation remains small. Considerable inequalities of access to university education remain in terms of social class, geographical location, marginalized groups as well as those with special needs and disabilities.

University education institutions enrol around 19 percent of the Grade 12 cohorts. In 2015, the Gross Enrolment Ratio stood at 21.1 percent. The total enrolment at public Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) was 34,917 of which the Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST) enrolled 12,245 and the University of Namibia (Unam) 20,619. Total enrolment for private HEIs for 2015 was 14,761 and is projected to increase to 16,000 in 2016. Students from rural areas have a much lower rate of enrolment into tertiary education institutions. University education completion rate is at 50 percent.

Desired outcomes
By 2022, Namibia has put in place an education system that responds to industrial needs.

Challenges
Access to university education opportunities continues to be low, especially for poor, rural students from marginalised and special needs groups.

High dropout and low graduation rates leads to wasted investment. Access and dropout rates are often linked to limited funding available to students and lack of student support systems. Further, there is limited infrastructure for quality teaching, research and innovation, including limited access to broadband. There are weak linkages with the labour market, including industry, impacting negatively on relevance of training programmes and employability.

Health and Nutrition
Where We Are
Namibia has significantly reduced maternal and neonatal mortality. Both infant and under-five mortality has declined. HIV/AIDS in pregnant women has reduced from a peak of 22 percent in 2002 to 16.9 percent in 2014. Antenatal services are available in all health facilities in the country, resulting in 87 percent of all births occurring in health facilities and 88 percent attended to by skilled birth attendants. Immunization coverage has improved substantially throughout the NDP4 period.

The Nutrition Programme has lowered the prevalence of stunting from 29 percent in 2006 to 24 percent in 2014. The percentage of mothers who feed their infants through breastfeeding has grown to 48 percent in 2013 from 23 percent in 2006. Prevalence of iron deficiency anaemia is 22 percent in women and 48 percent among children. While there has been success in fighting communicable diseases, such as TB and malaria, non-communicable diseases accounted for 43 percent of the 14,000 total deaths in 2012. As of 2015, Namibians had a Health Adjusted Life Expectancy of 58 years.

Desired Outcome
By 2022, Namibia’s Health Adjusted Life Expectancy (HALE) has improved from 58 to 67.5 years.

Challenges
Free cross-border movement of people seeking healthcare and grazing presents a challenge to the elimination of communicable diseases. There has been a noted increase on mental health. There is a shortage of human resources especially in the rural areas, compelling the country to rely heavily on expatriates. There is inadequate health research conducted in the country due to limited capacity. Availability of essential drugs is affected by tedious procurement processes, lack of access to pharmaceuticals, irrational use of pharmaceuticals and wastage, insufficient storage capacity and limited warehousing space at CMS. Maintenance of medical equipment is a major challenge. Double burden of under-nutrition and overweight or obesity is a challenge.

Social Development
Gender Equality
Where We Are
According to the Namibia Demographic Health Survey 2013, 33 percent of women aged 15-49 have experienced some forms of physical or sexual violence. Orphans in rural areas are particularly vulnerable to exploitation through trafficking and other forms of forced labour.

In 2015, the first case of human trafficking was successfully prosecuted in Namibia.
Systemic inequalities contribute towards the higher rates of gender based-violence (GBV) among women, 32 percent of whom live below the poverty line. Moreover, 44 percent of female-headed households live in poverty. Poverty among females is linked to their unequal access to, control over and benefit from an uneven distribution of productive resources such as land, capital, education, labour and limited participation in political and economic institutions.

Desired Outcome
By 2022, Namibian women are empowered and free from gender-based-violence.
Challenges
• Absence of gender-responsive measures for equitable redistribution of productive resources and absence of a well-coordinated National Women Economic Empowerment Framework/Programme (NWEEF/P).
• Inadequate sex disaggregated data.
• Lack of effective coordination and referral between service providers for effective GBV and trafficking in persons services e.g. memorandums of understanding (MoUs) and standards operating procedures (SOPs).
• Absence of a comprehensive legislative framework on children in conflict with the law and TIPs law that should be in line with international standards.

Housing and Land
Where We Are
Housing remains a major developmental challenge in Namibia. In 2016, 19 percent of households lived in improvised houses such as makeshift shelters built of waste materials, or structures that were not built for the purpose of habitation. Housing provision efforts have concentrated on urban centres which have resulted in urban-rural imbalances.
The housing sector could be categorized into three market segments, namely, low income earners, middle income earners and upper class. The low and lower middle income earners earn between N$0.00 and N$4,600.00 per annum, and constitute the income groups that are hardest hit by housing shortages. These groups do not qualify for housing loans due to the lack of collateral and low disposable income and thus are the targets for low cost housing/ affordable and adequate housing.

Desired Outcome
By 2022, Namibian households living in improvised houses reduced from 19 percent in 2016 to 12 percent.

Challenges
Slow implementation of legal instruments has hampered progress in reducing the housing backlog while persistent supply shortage has pushed up local property prices. Housing development is uncoordinated and housing databases are scattered among various entities which make accurate data collection difficult. The implementation of housing projects by regional councils and local authorities is generally very slow.

Sanitation
Where We Are
Water-borne sewerage is the main sanitation system in the urban areas while a dry sanitation system is mainly used in rural areas.

Nationally, only 54 percent of households have access to improved sanitation, according to the Namibia Household Income and Expenditure Survey (NHIES, 2015). The problem is particularly acute in rural areas where only 28 percent of households have access to improved sanitation facilities and an alarming 71.5 percent of households practise open defecation. Low access to improved sanitation constitutes a serious public health problem. Since 2012 over 3,855 sanitation facilities were constructed in all regions, except Khomas, in rural communities at household and public places mainly by the Directorate of Water Supply and Sanitation Coordination (DWSSC) and the Ministry of Urban and Rural Development (MURD).

Desired Outcome
By 2022, Namibian households have improved sanitation increasing from 28 percent in 2016 to 40 percent in rural areas and from 77 percent in 2016 to 87 percent in urban areas.

Challenges
The sector is affected by poor coordination, lack of accountability, and spreading efforts and resources too thinly. Furthermore, there is lack of knowledge and understanding of the impact of sanitation on public health, the environment and ultimately to economic development.

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