Windhoek — The Ministry of Education has fulfilled its promise to distribute free stationery to all primary schools after its announcement to roll out universal free primary education to all Namibian children.
Although many parents were uncertain about the government's directive that no parent would have to buy stationery as of the 2013 academic year, many schools in Windhoek have since last week received stationery.
Even before the directive for free stationery, government already used to supply stationery to many schools especially in far-flung rural areas.
Hence, those schools and parents were not worried over the process of free primary education, including the free stationery being distributed nationwide.
New Era on Friday spoke to different primary school staffers whose schools were affected by the delay for over a week but they all said they had since received most of their stationery.
A teacher at A I Steenkamp Primary School in Khomasdal said the school had received the bulk of their stationery and teaching material.
'We received exercise books. We also got our pencils and pens as well as crayons. We are waiting for the rest hopefully by Monday (today). We already started teaching last week," the Head of Department (HoD) Maureen Tjirare told New Era upon enquiry.
Further, Marti Ahtisaari Primary School in Katutura also confirmed that government has delivered on its promise as most of their stationery has arrived.
"We received 80 percent of our stationery, comprising exercise books, pens, pencils and posters. We will also collect some of the stationery at the Teachers Resource Centre in Katutura over the weekend. And by the end of the week, we hope everything will be delivered," Hermanus Bock, the headmaster said.
Meanwhile, Emma Hoogenhout Primary School in Hochland Park indicated the school has not yet received anything.
The school principal, Vetjiua Mukungu, said some parents had indeed bought stationery for their children.
"We did not yet receive but I got a phone call to go pick up our stationery on Monday (today). But we started teaching on the 16th of January already because some parents assisted to buy their children's things," he said.
Khomasdal Primary School also collected their stationery last week already and resumed teaching.
"We received exercise books, pencils, pens and crayons. Only a few exercise books are outstanding. As I am speaking now, every child has an exercise book to write in. Teaching started on Friday," the HoD Gisele Kukuri informed New Era.
Last week the Minister of Education, Dr Abraham Iyambo also announced that all Namibian secondary and primary school children would by the end of this year no longer share school textbooks as each child will receive a set of his/her own textbooks.
Currently, the average ratio for the use of textbooks at primary schools is one textbook per three learners (1:3) and at secondary schools the ratio is one textbook per two learners (1:2).
The ministry with its partners the Education and Training Sector Improvement Programme (ETSIP) and the Millennium Challenge Account-Namibia (MCA-Namibia), jointly committed over N$137 million to purchase 1.7 million textbooks.