The new Basic Education Act commences

Stefanus Nashama

The Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture, has commenced with the new Basic Education Act, 2020 (Act No. 3 of 2020), replacing the Education Act 2001 (Act No. 16 of 2001), which became outdated.

Announcing the commencement of the new Act last week in Windhoek, Minister Ester Nghipondoka, stressed that the guiding principles of the new Act aim to promote and regulate free and compulsory basic education in the country.

“This new Education Act addresses not only basic education but also adult education and lifelong learning, reflecting the diverse needs of our society,” she said.

According to the Minister, the new Act will realise and ensure inclusive quality education, and lifelong learning, and enhance and protect the rights of learners to education.

The Act will also provide for the establishment, accreditation, registration, governance and management of State and Private schools and hostels.

“The new Act aspires to create an integrated, unified, flexible, high-quality education and training system by the year 2030, preparing Namibian learners for a rapidly changing global environment,” Nghipondoka stressed.

The Minister further pointed out that the previous Act only made provision for compulsory school attendance at 16 years while the new Act has shifted the compulsory attendance to 18 years.

“The new Act specifically addresses the right of learners to transfer under certain circumstances,” she said.

This, she said will ensure that learners with special educational needs and difficulties are accommodated within the basic education system.

At the same time, Nghipondoka revealed that the new Act looks at strategies to resolve and manage the issue of learner pregnancy to create a safe and healthy school environment.

This includes school health services and outlines minimum standards for schools and hostels.

While explaining the role of the new Act, the Minister revealed that there was a need to revise disciplinary procedures at schools, saying the Act enabled the ministry to develop a new code of conduct for learners, and this has been gazette already.

“The Act envisions enhanced monitoring and evaluation of all elements of school functioning at all levels, including governance structures and financing,” she disclosed.

Nghipondoka indicated that the new Act paves the way for the transforming education agenda.

The Act came into effect on 5 October 2023, while the advocacy and awareness campaign will begin earlier in 2024.

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