Education versus Development in Namibia

Fritz H Dausab

“Education is both a tool of social justice as well as a fundamental driver of economic development.” – Kevin Rudd

Let’s face it Namibians…COVID-19 just condemned our prospects of economic development to the gutters of soon to be Zimbabwean dictatorship chronicles.

In national budgets for the past 30 years, Namibia has given billions upon billions of Namibian Dollars to the education sector. Nothing bad about it…if we believe that those billions is an investment into our human capital, I guess. But as they say, the proof is in the pudding! Which means that for the past thirty years…government has reaped exactly what they have sown… zero capability to reach any of the targets set in NDP1-5 and or Vision 30. Can we the Namibians ask, HOW COME??

At the top of my head, I can argue that the reason why Namibia is so backward, stems from the believe that the same developed countries who takes our minerals and resources wants to keep US Underdeveloped. We should ask ourselves if our education will make us reach Vision 2030…


The ushering in of Cambridge Education System in 1994 and getting rid of Cape Education System for Namibia, while outlawing corporal punishment was the exact date Namibia should have been certified Dead-but-alive. When the returned exiles took over the government, they had no clue how to govern, nor did they know what was in the best interest of Namibians who lived under Apartheid. My point is the scrapping of the Cape Education System was driven by emotions and knee-jerk response to getting rid of anything South-African.

The problem with emotions clouding our judgement and clear thoughts- in this case brought us the Cambridge System, which was totally out of touch with current economic prospects of Namibia. They have nothing to offer Namibia in terms of a path to development, from British experience. The paths followed by Britain and than by USA, is different from East Asian Tigers with Japan as first mover, which are still different from Africa and Namibia is nowhere on any manufacturing capabilities, while we are only 9 years away from Vision 2030 of SWAPO.

When we look at the Cape Education System which was thrown out of window after independence, the facts can speak for itself. One of these facts is and was that Western Cape with this education system is the province with the lowest unemployment figures. Secondly, that the Western Cape is very developed in manufacturing. And third that South-Africa as our neighbour has fundamental similarities to Namibia- almost same people, shared history, shared economy and most importantly South-African economic development is current (Less than 70 years old) in comparison to Britain and their more than 250-year-old industrial revolution.

In conclusion, saying that we needed to get rid of all things by Apartheid South-Africa, why did we keep the Afrikaners and Germans before them who took our best farm land, same people who runs our economy from South-Africa (our Old Mutual, Sanlam, Metropolitan, Medicity hospitals, our PEP Stores, Ackerman’s, Pick and Pay’s, De Beers, Rossing and many-many others… Even Shoprite, the current bad baby who keeps our people as CASUALS for more than 10 years, since before 1990… why is SWAPO quiet when our people are mistreated?

Economic development status

“We have lots of studies about what’s wrong with our education system. We need to accept responsibility, be bold, find solutions and move forward to make education a centerpiece of our economic development.” (Christine Gregoire)

Namibia is one of the top 5 unequal societies in the world. It’s just a fact, with many people living on less then U$2 per day, making them destitute. While SWAPO government is unable to implement policies to job creation and simply enlarges the government service (currently standing at +110 000 public servants. If that is not bad enough, SWAPO also established more than 90 State Owned Enterprises, where comrades and families are employed. In most cases the salaried imbeciles in charge of these parastatals have no performance agreements but take-home millions in paychecks for comrades/friends/families of ruling elite.

These same parastatals are not well managed nor can it provide cost effective services- Namwater, Transnamib, Namdia and Namdeb are the examples of non-transparent or badly managed companies- while GIPF and Social Security and bankrupt SME Bank are examples of cash cows for comrades of ruling elite. The billions lost to mass housing and more billions lost to inflated tenders or non-completed tender projects are just further examples of corrupt and inept SWAPO government. A government that can give no guidance towards economic development, is set to fail miserably and impoverish Namibia through belly politics.

In conclusion, we are having a sorry excuse of an education system that is a mismatch between an underdeveloped Namibia and developed Britain. The plethora of SOE’s should be closed down, stop competing in the real economy and SWAPO/ National Planning Commission should get rid of American/ European/Chinese consultants, as they are not worth the paper their fancy plans are written on. Get AFRICAN solutions for African problems.

I would rather suggest that Namibia should create own education system with punishment to give opportunity to charter our own economic development plans, as a country.

Fritz H Dausab
Political Economy Analyst

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