1 February 2012

Namibia: Schools to Pilot Social Accountability Project

Rehoboth — Namibian school going children are not achieving as much as the Ministry of Education would like to see and the ministry is trying to identify some of the areas which could be improved for learners to scjeive better results.

This came to light during a sensitisation workshop on Social Accountability and School Governance in the Education Sector in Namibia Project at Rehoboth Primary School on Saturday. To enhance school performance, school accountability and student achievement, United Nations International Children Education Fund (UNICEF)'S Charles Avelino said the world body was mandated by the UN General Assembly to enhance the education programme. "The aim is that when a children go to school they are prepared to be able to contribute to national development when leaving school," he said adding that UNICEF was committed to supporting the development of children and to ensuring that when they attend school they don't spend years in schools without benefiting anything on personal development.

A pilot project with four primary schools, three in Mariental in the Hardap Region, and one in the Ohangwena Region, starts towards the second half of this year. The project, titled Social Accountability and School Governance in the Education Sector in Namibia, will be implemented over a period of three years. It will be coordinated by the Ministry of Education and implemented with regional and national education staff of the ministry, Non-Government Organisations (NGOs), learners, school boards and communities. Alvelino informed the meeting that the project will enhance grass roots level engagement in school governance, and sector monitoring at regional and national levels will contribute to quality education and a more efficient and effective education service delivery.

UNICEF last year received EUR 1.6million (N$ 15.3million) from the European Union (EU) to strengthen Social Accountability and School Governance in the Education Sector in Namibia, as part of the 10th European Developmental Fund (EDF).One of the areas identified was the participation of parents and communities in school activities.

To address the low levels of community and parental awareness and engagement in school education, the EU-funded project is to focus on creating an understanding on educational rights, purposes, policies and practices, and in building the capacity of civil society, educators and communities for their active participation in school governance and sector monitoring processes within the local, regional and national education system. Within the next three years Avelino said the intention is to go up to 48 schools, which means after the four pilot schools, the project will engage more 20 schools before the end of the three years period in the Hardap Region, and another 20 in Ohangwena so that at the end of the three year cycle, 48 schools will be participating in the process.

The Principal of Rehoboth Primary School, Paulus Olivier, said the project will dilute the apathy (lack of interest in anything, or the absence of any wish to do anything) and by that schools will get more people involved. He said his school is currently rated as a good school and his team are working towards making it a great primary school in Namibia.

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