Namibia: Ministry Bans Political Campaigns At Schools

THE education ministry's executive director, Sanet Steenkamp, has urged political parties to refrain from campaigning on schoolgrounds.

In a statement issued on Monday, Steenkamp said numerous incidents of political campaigning on schoolgrounds have been reported nationwide, although she did not specify them.

She added that the ministry has observed with serious concern the uncoordinated access to school premises by groups, and in particular political parties, under the pretext of holding motivational talks to pupils and teachers.

"No school, under any circumstance, should be used for political gatherings, campaigns and fundraising activities for political gain. This also includes that learners should not be addressed on political matters on schoolgrounds," Steenkamp stressed in the statement

She further said the announcement stands, notwithstanding that education is a collective responsibility, and that nurturing pupils can take many forms.

The deputy leader of the Landless People's Movement, Henny Seibeb, told The Namibian that it is insensible that the government allows "executive and parliamentians persons to go and speak [at schools] while political parties are banned."

Seibeb continued: "If this is the case, they [education ministry] should also exclude the history of the Swapo party from schools."

The National Unity Democratic Organisation (Nudo)'s youth league acting secretary, Veparura Kandirikirira, however welcomed the ministry's stance.

"We support them [education ministry] fully; learners should not be forced to listen to political parties.

They must only focus on their education while on school premises.

"Let it be their choice outside school premises to associate with political parties."

He, however, said the same principle must be applicable to the ruling party, reasoning that "If allowed, the ruling party will dominate."

Questions sent to the official opposition in parliament, PDM, had not been answered by the time of going to print.

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