In order to improve the quality of basic and inclusive education, this programme aims to use advocacy and knowledge management to influence policies and institutional frameworks. This will result in establishment and implementation of appropriate legislation, policies, strategic plans and budgets for equitable access and improved teaching and learning outcomes for boys and girls at pre-primary, primary and secondary levels.

The programme also aims to strengthen the capacity of the education system to ensure continuity in education. This will result in 66 per cent of school-aged boys and girls benefiting from continued access to improved learning from primary through secondary education within a safe schooling environment. Special attention will be given to improving HIV prevention, reducing violence in schools and promoting standards for access to water and sanitation in schools.

Our focus

With Namibian children performing poorly in schools, many repeating grades or dropping out and thousands still excluded from the formal education system, UNICEF is intensifying its efforts to help deliver high-quality education services that benefit all. The focus of the UNICEF education progamme is not only on primary and secondary learners, but also on children from the most disadvantaged communities and adolescent girls.

Our approach

In Namibia, UNICEF strongly advocates for education to not only be of a higher standard and quality but to also include all children. Education is not simply about making schools available for those who are already able to access them.

It is about being proactive in identifying the barriers and obstacles that children experience in trying to get into school and stay in school, as well as in removing those barriers and obstacles that lead to exclusion. UNICEF does this by supporting policies and institutional frameworks for quality and inclusiveness of education and strengthening government capacity to deliver services. Special attention is given to preventing HIV infection among adolescents, reducing violence in schools, getting community members involved in school governance and promoting standards for school water and sanitation.

Our achievements

UNICEF support to improving access to education, quality of learning and teaching, school governance and school safety is paving the way for a more equitable and child-friendly education system.

  • In early 2013, the removal of school fees was a major milestone towards achieving universal primary education in Namibia. This was the result of the abolition of the social development fund, which had been a major barrier to schooling for poor and socially excluded children since the country’s independence. Namibia will roll out universal secondary education from 2016.
  • In order to ensure alignment with the National Development Plan and other national developmental policies, the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture, with technical and financial support from the European Union and UNICEF, undertook to review the Education Act 16 of 2001. The Act was revised through a participatory, nationwide consultation process, to be firmly based within a rights-based framework. The revised Act places great emphasis on inclusivity, equity and quality in education service delivery, with schools being resources for both learner and community development.
  • In 2014 and 2015, more than 2,000 community members were trained and equipped with social accountability tools to measure the performance of 148 schools. More than 1,600 school children were also able to assess challenges in their schools and come up with solutions. This was achieved through a UNICEF-supported initiative in social accountability and school governance which strengthens the capacity of learners and the school board in the decision-making process of the school. The aim of the initiative is to foster greater school ownership in the community, stronger accountability in the delivery of education services and therefore better quality of education.
  • Violence in schools – corporal punishment, sexual assaults and bullying – continues to a devastating reality for many children in Namibia. UNICEF is supporting a coordinated effort to make schools safe and supportive. This involves developing and implementing norms and standards for school safety, training teachers to prevent and manage school violence and getting communities actively engaged in school safety and monitoring incidents of school violence. In addition, the ‘Start Caring, Stop Bullying’ campaign against bullying was launched by the Minister of Education, Arts and Culture in 2015, reaching over 57,000 learners in 145 schools. It aims to reduce school violence, inculcate a culture of care in Namibian school communities and establish truly safe schools.
  • UNICEF and PACT have partnered to help move the mandate for integrated early childhood development (IECD) services from the Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare to the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture. A framework and costed plan were developed in 2014. UNICEF secured funding to pilot an IECD model in 2015, which also includes child protection and nutrition in addition to early learning.

UNICEF in Action

Early Childhood Development (ECD)

Giving children a solid foundation in the early years is the best investment society can make. However, in Namibia, young children do not always get the best start in life.  For many, the early years are riddled with poverty, malnutrition, disease and the lack of opportunities to play and learn the skills needed to do well in primary school.

Considering that children’s overall well being is dependent not only on their cognitive development, but also on their physical, social, and emotional well-being, programmes that coordinate responses across all these components produce the best results.This is why UNICEF supports integrated ECD service delivery, especially for the most vulnerable children, and aims to improve the standards of care and learning in existing ECD centres throughout Namibia.

Read the fact-sheet on ECD

Inclusive Education

Inclusive education means welcoming all children in mainstream schools regardless of differences in socio-economic background, (dis)ability, race, colour, sex and sexual orientation, religion and ethnicity. In Namibia, efforts are being made to strengthen inclusive education but many children are still being excluded from school, including children with disabilities, children of secondary-school age (especially those in remote rural areas) and children from minority communities such as the Himba and the San.

UNICEF is working with the Government and its partners to strengthen inclusive education. Work is being done to collect and publish data on children with disabilities and children who are out of school, and identify the barriers that exclude children from accessing quality education. UNICEF also helps address the underlying causes of stigma and discrimination that perpetuate exclusion of children with disabilities from society in general and educational opportunities in particular. Engaging with communities to change attitudes towards children with disabilities and creating positive parenting practices are also priorities.



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