Namibia's Children

Namibia's Children

 

Primary School Years

© UNICEFNamibia/2013/Sinclair

Children between the ages of 6 and 11 go beyond basic development to the journey of acquiring the skills and emotional confidence they need to operate within society. Education becomes a major part of their experience, character, and confidence building. While almost all children are enrolled in primary school, attendance rates by Grade 5 are almost down to 90%. This means that more needs to be done to meet the constitutional requirement that all children receive and complete at least 5 years of schooling. Numbers of children at school begin to fall more quickly in Grades 6 and 7 so that slightly less than 8 out of 10 children move on to secondary school.

The quality of education in Namibia remains a concern for Government. Southern African regional studies suggest that Namibian children’s reading and maths standards are some of the lowest in the region. In response, the Ministry of Education is making major efforts to increase the quality of primary school teachers.

Schools are places where vulnerable children can be supported. Attendance of orphans is higher than non orphans. School feeding programmes cover just under half of those who are vulnerable. However, there are reports that primary schools do not always present as ‘units of social support’ providing ‘pastoral care and guidance’. The degree to which schools properly support disabled children is also in question.

Similar concerns about the degree to which children do not always find their home to be their main place of safety arise. One quarter of children of children who have had sex before 12 reported having been forced to do so.

Hunger and being beaten are also important issues; inappropriate levels of punishment can have effects that last into adulthood. The same tension as to what is acceptable exists in relation to child labour. Two thirds of children are recorded as working in northern rural regions to the point where some are kept out of school and most felt that it affects their lives.

 

 
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