25 January 2013

Namibia: Textbooks in Transit

Photo: Alexandre Dulaunoy/Flickr
Knowledge is power.

EDUCATION Minister Abraham Iyambo yesterday announced that about 1,7 million books had been dispatched to schools across the country. The consignment, valued at N$137 million, will ensure that every pupil will have textbooks before the end of 2013, said the minister.

Over 54,7% or 990 000 of the textbooks have already been delivered to schools.

"The textbook procurement process started in April last year," said the minister. "However, we acknowledge that there were delays in the process."

He urged schools to swiftly report back to the ministry regarding the delivery of textbooks.

The Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) in Namibia has patnered with the government in providing textbooks for Mathematics, Science and English for grades 5 to 12, as part of its project which spans from 2009.

"By September 2014, the MCA hopes to have completed this task, " said MCA chief executive officer Penny Akwenye. The MCA also provides training support to the education ministry and improves the quality of education through innovation and maintenance as well as improving the accessibility and management of textbooks.

The MCA is also assisting the government by building three of the 13 study resource centres in the regions. Government is responsible for the construction of the remaining ten resource centres. The MCA also provides funding for students to study at tertiary institutions.

Iyambo further urged pupils to look after their textbooks and ordered teachers not to keep the textbooks in storage while pupils have to share books.

"In 2010, I heard a school in the Kavango Region had a 50:1 learner-textbook ratio, because the teacher kept the textbooks that were there in storage. But that is now a thing of the past."

The minister said that with the distribution of textbooks, Government aims to do away with the current average of 3:1 children per textbook by the end of this year.

The ministry wants the textbooks to be delivered before February 20. "This deadline date is non-negotiable," Iyambo said.

The undersecretary of formal education, Charles Kabajani, said the lack of textbooks could be linked to the low pass rate in the country, "however, there are cases where learners have excelled despite the insufficiency of material."

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