Windhoek – “We have a challenge of proper physical infrastructure and especially now that we have introduced free universal education at primary and secondary level,” Education Minister Katrina Hanse-Himarwa said yesterday at the handover of a N$200,000 donation by the Rainbow Fishing Company.
The company approached the Education Ministry after reading about The Friends of Education in Namibia Initiative (FENSI). The initiative aims to bring on broad all friends of education who would want to make a contribution towards education in Namibia.
This is in recognition of the fact that government efforts alone cannot meet and provide for all the learners in the education system. “This donation marks a giant leap towards our intention to improve infrastructure development in the education sector,” the education minister said.
FENSI stands on five pillars that are reflected in the minister’s performance agreement, which is her promise to the nation, where together with her team they will be able to provide infrastructure, where needed and if resources allow.
Free universal education requires more of everything, the minister noted. It requires more classrooms, more teachers, more resources and more of everything. Donors like Rainbow fishing come in to address the challenges, so that the ministry is able to meet the challenges that come with free universal education, she said.
Touching on the feeding programme, from which an estimated 400 000 children in selected schools benefit, the minister said she hopes to roll the programme out to secondary schools, as well. The socio-economic problems don’t disappear, just because the learners are in high school, Himarwa remarked.
“We need to go paperless and that’s what we are aiming at. The ministry wants to know how to do away with textbooks,” she said. The minister feels that learners are over burdened with textbooks. “You see the big bags with loads of books in the bags that create health hazards,” she said.
A future of paperless schools, where children are equipped a USB and laptop indicates the direction the ministry wants to move.
In her vote of thanks, permanent secretary Sanet Steenkamp gave assurances to donors that the funds would be deposited into the institutional strengthening and capacity building account, which is audited and the money will be spent on one of the key areas such as ICT, food security, infrastructure, social development and capacity building.
“I know that all of us are facing financial difficulties during these uncertain economic times, however the willingness and power of goodwill should always prevail,” she said.