Dr. Abraham Iyambo yesterday announced the introduction of free primary education in Namibia in accordance with article 20 of the Namibian constitution on free and compulsory primary education. According to Dr Iyambo this was done in line with the UNECO Education For All goals and the UN millennium Development Goals.
Dr. Iyambo directed that parents/guardians of learners in Grade 0 (pre-primary) to Grade 7 should no longer contribute to the school development Fund as from January 2013. The minister further directed that schools should reimburse those parents/guardians who may have paid school development Fund as part of their registration requirement for 2013.
The constitution of Namibia under article 20 state and mandates that:
However the Education Act, 16, 2001 made provision that the School Board may levy an annual fee on learners payable by their parents, guardians or caregivers and contribution to the School Development Fund. According to Dr. Iyambo, this practice has been turned into inhibitive condition for admission into public schools by some of our school authorities. He emphasized that the noble intention has unfortunately been abused and has led to exclusion of many children from education.
The National Education Conference of 2011 discussed the issue of free primary education and made recommendations that free primary education should be introduced and cabinet approved the recommendations. The Ministry commissioned a study supported by UNESCO and UNICEF to strengthen the sentiments of cabinet. The study found the need to eliminate the existing system of Student Development Fund contribution.
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