25 January 2013

Namibia: A Textbook for All

Photo: Alexandre Dulaunoy/Flickr
Knowledge is power.

The Ministry of Education has committed itself to achieve a 1:1 textbook ratio by the end of this year. Currently the average ratio at primary level stands at 1:3 and 1:2 at secondary level, although some schools have already achieved the target.

"Coming from a situation where the ratio was 1:6 and even 1:20 or in the worst cases, one textbook for an entire class, this is progress indeed. The textbook policy calls for proper utilisation by teachers, proper use by learners and also proper textbook management by school managers. This massive investment made by the Ministry of Education and its partners should be treasured," said the minister, Hon Abraham Iyambo.

The Ministry of Education in collaboration with its partners ETSIP and MCA have committed over N$137 million to buy 1.7million copies of textbooks.

According to the minister, the textbook procurement process started early last year when schools did their inventories which were audited as from June 2012 by their inspectors of education. At that point, the ministry started sending more textbooks to schools countrywide. As of this week, the ministry has supplied over 990,000 books to schools with the rest expected to be delivered by 20 February 2013.

"I now appeal to all agencies in the supply chain to speed up the process of delivering of textbooks to schools to meet the due date of 20 February 2013 to conclude all deliveries at all schools. It is imperative that we meet the deadline so that learners have the best possible opportunities to learn, study and progress," he said.

Penny Akwenye, the CEO of the Millennium Challenge Account said, MCA undertook to procure and deliver textbooks in three tranches for grade 5 to 12 to schools nationwide [with] about 700,000 textbooks for Maths, Science and English delivered to schools during 2010.

"94,000 thousand books still for Maths, Science and English are in this warehouse awaiting finalisation of the delivery contract between MCA Namibia and a delivery agent. From July this year, MCA will fund and support the Ministry of Education to procure close to 600,000 Science, English and Maths textbooks. That will be the final tranche," she said.

The minister also directed principals and teachers to take all textbook out of the storerooms and give them to the learners to be used.

"Textbooks should not be in the storerooms but in the classrooms being used by the learners. It is the responsibility of the principal, ministry inspectors, the deputy ministrer and the minister to make sure that this does not happen," he said.

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