Free education’ a burden

Children receive free education, but the financial strains continue when parents have to purchase stationery and other items.

22 January 2019 | Education

Justicia Shipena

In December 2012 free primary education was introduced in Namibia, in accordance with article 20 of the Namibian Constitution on free and compulsory primary education.

The constitution of Namibia under article 20 states and mandates that all persons shall have the right to education, primary education shall be compulsory and that the state shall provide reasonable facilities to render effective this right for every resident within Namibia, by establishing and maintaining state schools at which primary education will be provided free.

Children should not be allowed to leave school until they have completed their primary education or have attained the age of 16 years, whichever occurs sooner, unless this happens on the grounds of health or other considerations pertaining to the public interest.

Four years later, from 2016, all state secondary schools in the country started to offer free education.

Despite this so-called free education some parents and teachers have spoken of a financial strain, when interviewed by The Zone.

Kambala Thomas, who is a parent to a grade 7 learner at Onanghonda Combined School, said his child receives education without the need to pay school fees.

“My child has been receiving free education ever since 2015 with no registration fees asked for,” he said.

Thomas, however, added there are a number of items that his child uses for school activities.

Thomas said he has to pay a school contribution fee, but this is not expensive and is put to good use.

He said the amount he spends on stationery depends on the number of items on the school list.

“Since we don't pay school fees it’s not an issue buying stationery, plus buying stationery should be something all parents should budget and plan for, before leaving for the holidays; especially knowing that you have children to send to school,” he said.

A Khomas parent, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said she pays fees to the school, including a transport fee for her child.

She said the stationery list is fair, since she only buys a certain amount of items and some others, like books, the child receives at the school. She, however, does not need to pay a contribution fee because the amount the parents pay for fees covers the school maintenance costs.

Another parent argued that the items his child takes to school are unnecessary, as they hardly get to use them.

He said his child is asked to take things like air freshener, Handy Andy and soap, but when you visit the school the toilets are not tidy.

“There is hardly toilet paper in their bathrooms, but children are expected to bring them,” he said.

Ndamononghenda Hangula, a teacher at Onaanda Combined School in the Omusati Region, said some of the items the learners have to bring to school are way too expensive, compared to the ones government used to provide.

Some schools ask for a certain amount to cater for the learner's stationary and this amount also differs from school to school.

She added that not all the items learners bring are used to their advantage.

Hangula said the school cannot afford to cater for all the learning materials, such as textbooks, which are a concern.

“I have a class of 40 learners and only three textbooks are available and in that situation the teaching and learning process cannot go smoothly. This is especially so in rural areas where there is only one computer at the school and learners cannot do their homework, due to lack of textbooks and no access to internet,” she said.

Hangula added that the education system today is not fulfilling its aims, but is rather putting children into the streets.

She said often grade 9 and 10 failures are left with no option but to drift into the streets.

“Although the grade 9 learners who did not make it are transferred to grade 10, there are not enough classrooms at schools with grade 10. The new curriculum thus leads to learners travelling long distances of close to 20km to and from school and they have to be in class by 06:30. By the time a learner reaches school he or she is tired and not in the mood for learning, thus making them vulnerable to failure,’’ she said.

This is a typical grade 1 stationery list for a government school:

· Beginners pencil (jumbo) x2

· Colour pencils x2

· Scissors x1

· Thick wax crayons x2

· Rolls of thick plastic x3

· Mondi rota trim 500 copy paper x3

· Large Pritt x1

· Sharpener x1

· 2 litre ice cream container with child’s name x1

· Retractable wax crayons x3

· Flip file x1

· HB pencils x10

· Thin wax crayons x2

· Thin cellotape x1

· Ponal wood glue x1

· Skipping rope x1

Similar News


The youth speak up

9 hours ago | Education

Elizabeth JosephYoung people all over Windhoek came together this weekend to discuss ways in which the health ministry and the government can make hospital facilities...

Grade 1 class receives hope

9 hours ago | Education

Elizabeth Joseph Many Namibian children go to school without shoes or so much as a meal to get them through the day. The children...

O&L Leisure ondersteun voorskoolse leerlinge

9 hours ago | Education

30 voorskoolse leerlinge van die Gekombineerde Skool Kasika in die Kasika nedersetting in die Zambezistreek was die ontvangers van ’n skenking van O&L Leisure, ’n...

WAP plant bietjie!

9 hours ago | Education

Die onderwysers van Windhoek Afrikaanse Privaatskool (WAP) het besluit om spekbome by die skool te plant om bietjie terug te ploeg in die omgewing. Die...

Verseker inklusiwiteit op alle vlakke

9 hours ago | Education

Justicia ShipenaOnder die tema “Learning for, planet, prosperity, and peace”, het die ministerie van onderwys, kuns en kultuur, in samewerking met Unesco en Concordia College,...

Same old, same old

4 days ago - 24 January 2020 | Education

At Nkurenkuru Combined School in Kavango West Region, learners are being taught under trees, seated on the floor or standing for hours due to a...

Parents urged to assist schools

4 days ago - 24 January 2020 | Education

The education ministry is urging parents to assist schools in whatever way possible although basic education is free.The ministry made the call while responding to...

Learners sent home over broken pots

5 days ago - 23 January 2020 | Education

The over 1 200 learners at Max Makushe Senior Secondary School in the Kavango East Region have been sent home until further notice because of...

Parents fume over costly new uniforms

5 days ago - 23 January 2020 | Education

Parents say the introduction of good-looking school uniforms does not guarantee an improvement in academic performance, behaviour or attendance.Last week, Namibian Sun caught up with...

A beacon of hope

5 days ago - 23 January 2020 | Education

The Tsintsabis Combined School's feeding programme has received resounding support from stakeholders since its implementation in 2004, acting principal Christalina Narubes said.During an interview at...

Latest News

No evidence of ritual killing

9 hours ago | Crime

The police are contemplating DNA tests, if the police kitty allows, to identify the young Zimbabwean girl whose charred remains were found in a garbage...

Lightning kills 11 cattle in...

9 hours ago | Accidents

A farmer at Epingiro village in the Kavango West Region's Ncamagoro Constituency suffered a loss when lightning killed 11 of his cattle on Sunday evening....

A day in the life...

9 hours ago | People

Michelline Nawatises Samuel Mayele Nghipandulwa is 23 years old and hails from Ruacana, Oshifo. He started grade one and two at Oshoopala Combined School and...

Land question remains unanswered

9 hours ago | Opinion

We have said before that land reform in Namibia, which is currently a hot topic, should not be politicised. There is a general agreement that...

The importance of a pat...

9 hours ago | Columns

Ester KamatiWe often overlook how important it is for a person to be thanked or praised after they’ve put their energy into something which eventually...

Goals you want to achieve...

9 hours ago | Opinion

Rachel MutotaI want to put all my effort into the new grade I am in, so that I do not have a lack of knowledge...

Judges throw out shocking spliff...

9 hours ago | Justice

A N$4 000 fine or two-year prison sentence for possession of a single two-gram dagga joint worth N$20 was tossed out by two High Court...

Your future in dance awaits

9 hours ago | Youth

Ester Kamati The Ombetja Yehinga Organisation Trust has the main mandate to create social awareness through the arts and has been doing so for the...

The youth speak up

9 hours ago | Education

Elizabeth JosephYoung people all over Windhoek came together this weekend to discuss ways in which the health ministry and the government can make hospital facilities...

Load More