Major investments have been made in education since independence in 1990. More than nine out of ten Namibians today are considered literate and most children go to school. Despite this, the level of education is still low.
At independence, there were major differences in the school system in terms of quality and accessibility for different groups of people. The government has invested up to a quarter of the annual state budget on education to equalize the differences. However, there is a major shortage, especially for trained teachers.
- COUNTRYAAH: Country facts of Namibia, including geography profile, population statistics, and business data.
School compulsory school ten years, from the age of six. Nine out of ten children enter the first seven-year stage, which since 2013 is free of charge. About half of the children also go to the higher stages, which in total constitute five years.
Afrikaans was the language of instruction during the apartheid era. Today, the teaching will be in the children’s mother tongue for the first three years and then in English.
The high school is two years old. The country’s only university, the University of Namibia, was established in the early 1990s and has close to 20,000 students. There are also several vocational colleges.
- Andyeducation: Introduction to education system in Namibia, including compulsory schooling and higher education.
FACTS – EDUCATION
Proportion of children starting primary school
97.0 percent (2017)
Number of pupils per teacher in primary school
Reading and writing skills
88.3 percent (2011)
Public expenditure on education as a percentage of GDP
7.6 percent (2014)
Public expenditure on education as a percentage of the state budget
7.6 percent (2014)
Strengths against corruption are promised
In his first speech after being re-elected, President Hage Geingob promises to step up the fight against corruption at all levels of society. The promise is a response to the criticism directed at the SWAPO government party after two ministers left the government just before the November election (see November 13, 2019). The criticism is believed to have been a contributing reason for both SWAPO and Geingob losing support in the elections.
President Geingob loses support but is re-elected
Seated President Hage Geingob, 78, wins the presidential election by just over 56 percent of the vote. This is a major setback for Geingob and the Swapo government party. In the 2014 election, Geingob won 87 percent of the vote, but this time 30 percent of voters prefer Geingob’s challenger Panduleni Itula, who is also a member of Swapo. Itula is nominated as an independent candidate and receives great support from younger voters. Three will be McHenry Venaani, candidate for the largest opposition party PDM (for this DTA), with just over 5 percent of the vote. The parliamentary election will also be a disappointment for Swapo. The party loses its qualified majority in parliament and lands at 65 percent against 80 percent in the 2014 election. PDM is progressing sharply, from just over 5 percent to more than 16 percent. In third place comes a newly formed party – Landless People’s Movement (LPM) that receives just under 5 percent of the vote. Itula and LPM leader Bernadus Swartbooi accuse Swapo of electoral fraud but receive no support from international election observers. Sent fromThe Commonwealth and the regional cooperation organization SADC believe that the election took place in orderly form.
Ministers retire following bribery scandal
Minister of Justice Sackeus Shanghala and Minister of Fisheries Bernhard Esau resign after being accused of being involved in a major bribery. According to information provided by Wikileaks, the Namibian and Icelandic media, the two ministers should have given an Icelandic fishing company the right to fish mackerel in Namibian waters in exchange for bribes of the equivalent of US $ 10 million. Esau claims he is innocent but says he is resigning so as not to risk hurting the Swapo government ahead of the upcoming November 27 elections. Shangala leaves no comment. President Hage Geingob says he accepts the resignation of ministers but considers them “innocent until proven otherwise.”
Continued economic decline
Economic growth is expected to be negative for the second consecutive year, Finance Minister Calle Schlettwein reports. The reason is the prolonged drought, lack of investment and shrinking domestic consumption. The forecast for 2019 indicates that GDP will shrink by around 1.5 percent. Schlettwein estimates that the negative trend will reverse in 2020.
Step on the road towards German apology
The German Minister for Development, Gerd Müller, meets representatives of the Herero and Nama people groups who demand an official apology for the massacres committed by the Germans during the colonial period 1884-1915 (see Older History). Herero and nama also demand financial compensation from Germany. At the meeting, Müller says that history must be investigated, that the reconciliation process must be strengthened and that Germany will increase its assistance to Namibia. The German government has recognized the massacres of the Herero and Nama as genocidebut none of Parliament’s two chambers has followed the government’s example. In July, however, the Speaker of the German Parliament’s House of Representatives, Daniel Günther, took a step on the road when, during a visit to Namibia, he said that the “atrocities committed in the name of Germany were something that today was called genocide”.
Animals are rescued from starvation
Namibia is auctioning approximately 1,000 animals from its national parks due to the drought that plagues the country. According to the Namibia Meteorological Institute, drought in some parts of the country is the worst in 90 years. A spokesman for the Ministry of the Environment says that the pastures in the parks are so bad that many animals will starve to death if they are not sold. The Ministry of Agriculture estimates that over 63,000 animals died due to drought in 2018. The proceeds from the sale will be used to preserve wildlife and manage the national parks.
Nama and herero in legal battle against Germany
Nama and the Herero people appeal a March 2019 verdict by a New York federal court that refused to address the groups’ claims for compensation from Germany for the genocide of their ancestors (see Modern History). The Court referred to the principle of a state’s immunity. That the case is being processed in the United States is because Germany bought real estate in New York with money that, according to the plaintiffs, stems from German colonialists’ destruction of what was then Southwest Africa. Germany has also sold remnants of victims of the genocide to a museum in the city. Germany has acknowledged the massacres but rejects claims for damages as it believes that Namibia has received large sums of aid over the years. Negotiations are underway to draft a German official apology in combination with more financial assistance, but nama and herero are not included in the talks. They thus chose to seek compensation on their own from Germany.
Call for relief after drought
Prolonged drought causes the government to announce a national disaster situation. According to Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila, water shortages are prevalent in most of the country’s regions where water sources are completely dry or have very low water levels. The government has set aside the equivalent of just over € 35,000 to buy food, provide water in tankers and provide farmers with various forms of support. Now the government is asking the outside world for assistance to cope with the crisis.