WINDHOEK, 02 SEP – While enjoying the largest share of the government’s budget at N.dollars 16.7 billion – the education sector, from primary to tertiary – is Namibia’s greatest challenge, some Junior National Council (JNC) members have said.
For the 2018/19 financial year, the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture received N.dollars 13.5 billion, while its sister ministry, that of Higher Education, Training and Innovation got N.dollars 3.2 billion.
Speaking to Nampa on Friday on the sidelines of the second session of the JNC, several councillors expressed concern over the state of affairs and the challenges facing them most.
Mika Shuudeni from the Ohangwena Region called for the timeous disbursement of funds from the Namibia Students Financial Assistance Fund (NSFAF), saying that students sometimes resort to prostitution and other illicit activities to pay their tuition fees as a result of delays in payment disbursements.
“You find so many in towns, wearing miniskirts, selling their bodies to get money in order to proceed with his or her studies,” Shuudeni bemoaned candidly.
Muhinda Likando from Kunene said the entire education set-up is failing both students and learners.
“It’s really failing us. You can see our brothers are marching around Windhoek. It’s not a joke. If you go to the universities and VTCs, these people are suffering. People have nothing to eat because of those budget cuts.”
Joseph Maliu, who hails from Nkurenkuru in Kavango West, is concerned by the lack of government dormitories for learners.
“In Nkurenkuru, we don’t have a government hostel. Learners have to walk long distances to schools and have to spend the whole day there without even having lunch. How do you concentrate on an empty stomach?”
Joseph Andreas from Kavango East said teenage pregnancies continue to haunt his region.
He proposed that sexual education be prioritised in the region, in order to address the situation.
“The most challenging issue is teenage pregnancy. Most of the kids don’t use contraceptives and some of them engage in alcohol and drug abuse,” Andreas lamented.
The two Kavango regions have garnered notoriety for high teenage pregnancies in recent times.
In July this year, the parliamentary standing committee on human resources and community development revealed that over 4 000 girls dropped out of school in Namibia due to pregnancy in 2016 alone.