Opinion – Universal Education Grant Raising Kambashus in Rundu Schools

Faustin Shikukutu

Namibia is days away from celebrating its 32nd anniversary, the crucial question is why a child’s experience of education in a free Namibia should be taught in kambashus (zinc building), is it the kind of infrastructure that the independence struggle fought for? It is neither fair nor acceptable that 32 years after independence the school infrastructure is deteriorating to the level of the Bantu era of education.

While I recognize that progress has been made since the end of oppression to improve access to education as well as other aspects, fragilities have been identified caused by the universal education grant, such as repeated failure to meet its own infrastructure and facilities targets.

The Harambee II Prosperity Plan, in particular its social progression pillar, aims to ensure a better quality of life for all Namibians. The fourth goal of the social progression pillar talks about improving access to quality education and sports by improving and expanding educational infrastructure.

Despite this dream, the situation in many primary schools, especially around Rundu, paints a different picture where many schools are resorting to building kambashus to alleviate the problem of overcrowding. It is disturbing to see kambashus in an urban school where one expects to see modern buildings envisioned by Vision 2030 and other development policies.

The right to a quality education includes having a school where learners can learn safely and have the right infrastructure and facilities to do so, but for many learners this remains a pipe dream. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights clearly states that every child has the right to free basic education so that poverty and lack of money are not an obstacle to schooling. The government is to be applauded for introducing universal scholarships and for allocating a large portion of the budget to education to accommodate socio-economically disadvantaged children. Despite the initiative, the shortage of classrooms caused by access and poor infrastructure undermines the goal of quality education.

Reports show that substandard infrastructure and lack of basic services continue to be barriers to quality education. Infrastructure development in public schools in Namibia, especially in rural areas, does not receive enough attention from the government and other key stakeholders. There is strong evidence that a high-quality infrastructure facilitates better teaching and improves learner outcomes, among other benefits.

Classroom design affects learning through three interrelated factors, namely: naturalness (e.g. light, air quality), stimulation (e.g. complexity, color) and l individualization (eg flexibility of learning space). One wonders if the kambashus built in the schools respond to these interrelated factors. Schools in marginalized areas of Namibia face the greatest investment needs in the country, meaning that learners attending these schools are doubly disadvantaged.

These learners mainly come from low-income and rural families to attend poorly equipped schools. Crowded classrooms or kambashus are not optimal for teaching and learning. Examples of poor infrastructure include dilapidated classrooms, pit latrines and other damaged school infrastructure. These infrastructure problems in schools not only affect educational outcomes but also undermine the rights to education, the rights to safety and health of learners as well as teachers. Under these circumstances, it is not surprising that school results remain unsatisfactory.

Therefore, the implication is that the lack of adequate infrastructure could be an obstacle that could lead to the realization of education as a fundamental constitutional right.

For Namibia to comply with both its own constitutional and international human rights obligations in education, major change is urgently needed, particularly in relation to the goal of quality education. Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture by mobilizing more money for infrastructure development in communities. across countries.

2022-03-04 Staff reporter

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