28 March 2013

Namibia: MPs Reluctant to Be School Patrons

NAMIBIAN parliamentarians seem to be reluctant to become school patrons for fear of financial drain and physical violence, it emerged in the National Assembly yesterday.

This happened after a suggestion by Swapo MP Ben Amathila that schools should be assigned a parliamentarian as patron. Speaking during the budget debate, Amathila said merely allocating the biggest chunk of the budget to the education ministry would not achieve the desired results.

He said children lack role models and memberrs of the National Assembly and National Council could fill this gap. Defence Minister Nahas Angula rose to tell Amathila that since the school development funds were abolished in primary education this year he has been inundated with requests from schools to become their patron.

"They want me to build classrooms here and classrooms there," he said.

All People's Party president Ignatius Shixwameni said that becoming a school patron could cause war in the country. He was apparently referring to an incident earlier this year when controversy erupted after an opposition party patron donated building material to a school in the North.

Some parents of pupils at the Haihambo Primary School at Omutwewomunhu village in the Ohangwena Region disrupted classes by blocking the school gates after RDP leader Hidipo Hamutenya donated building material to the school last year. Foreign Affairs Minister Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah expressed doubt whether pupils would see parliamentarians as role models. She said a group of children who visited the National Assembly told her that parliamentarians were worse than a class of unruly pupils.

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