The Executive Director of Education, Arts, and Culture, Sanet Steenkamp, says that the world has been in a learning crisis since before COVID-19, and Namibia is no exception.

Steenkamp says that the literacy crisis in the county is far worse than previously thought, with the discovery that only one out of three learners can read.

She revealed this during the 2024 Nedbank coastal budget review breakfast meeting at Swakopmund.

Steenkamp says that early childhood development (ECD) is critical to shaping the future of learners. But, according to her, parents turn a blind eye to it. 

She says that if parents invest more in ECDs, repairing grades will be a thing of the past.

Stressing its importance, Steenkamp urged parents to engage actively from the start of the academic year in January, right through to the conclusion of end-of-year examinations. 

She further emphasises the crucial role of parents, equating their responsibilities with those of teachers and education officials, and encourages them not to set any limitations on their involvement.

"So your limited investment in ECD in preprimary is a missed opportunity for children that have poorer learning outcomes at the secondary level, so we must spend the money where it should be spent. What is it that we are saying before COVID-19? Already, the world was in a learning crisis. Only one out of three children—10-year-olds—could read and understand a simple story globally." 

She says that in the country, almost one-third of the country's population is in school, with 864,000 learners, according to the 15 schools' base statistics for 2023.

The workforce of public servants is 106,000, with 46,000 in education, she adds.

Out of that amount, 36,000 are teachers in 2,002 schools, of which 280 are private schools with 3,000 private school teachers.

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Stefan |Uirab