DBN Senior Communication Manager Jerome Mutumba explains how and why DBN supports social transformation through education
WINDHOEK, Sept. 19 – In terms of the third pillar of the Fifth National Development Plan (NDP5) concerning social transformation, Namibia requires substantial and targeted activity in the field of education. This encompasses early education, primary and secondary education, tertiary education and development of technical and vocational skills, according to Jerome Mutumba, Senior Communication Manager of the Development Bank of Namibia (DBN.)
He added that the goal of education is not only aimed at fulfilling current needs, but a long-term goal which requires firstly, that individuals in current generations are able to improve the wellbeing of themselves and their dependants.
Secondly, subsequent generations must be able to maintain the wellbeing that they receive from their parent generations, and that subsequent generations are able to further develop their wealth.
Development of education capacity and infrastructure is an absolute prerequisite for the long-term prosperity of Namibia, Mutumba noted.
Talking about the role of DBN in development of education, Mutumba said the Bank has a twofold commitment to education. Its primary commitment is developmentally beneficial commercial lending for development and expansion of educational facilities, and its secondary commitment is corporate social investment in educational entities that cannot sustain repayment of loans.
In terms of commercial lending to private sector institutions, Mutumba highlighted that this relieved pressure on public sector education. The more classrooms provided by the private sector, the more manageable the requirement for the public sector.
Expansion in private education is motivated by specific requirements. Growth of primary and secondary education is driven by parents and caregivers seeking specific characteristics of educational institutions. These can be smaller class sizes and / or non-secular components.
Tertiary students, Mutumba said, have specific requirements of education, and may be driven to private tertiary institutions to fulfill their needs. The Bank has in the past provided finance to the International Universtiy of Management (IUM). Although the Bank does not lend to public sector primary and secondary institutions, it can assist tertiary education which benefits from fees paid by students.
Mutumba adds that there is also a pressing need for vocational training. He points to the fact that the shortage of these skills is hampering industrialisation. With a larger pool of vocational skills to draw on, new enterprises can be established to support manufacturing and other sectors, and a greater degree of value adding to Namibia’s resources can take place. He says that poaching of skilled and experienced staff also poses a threat to the productivity of existing companies.
Although the Bank does not make loans to public sector primary and tertiary education, it does contribute to alleviation of needs through corporate social investment. The Bank invests in direct donations to the field, as well as donations to educational support programmes. It has in the past assisted with reconstruction of a hostel damaged by flooding, finance for construction of a school hall, and provided chairs for learners, among others.
Namibia’ ambition and future is intricately connected to its capacity to educate its citizens and equip them with the skills to further its development. However, it needs to do more to support private education, and expect more of it. – NDN Staffer