Education: Parents’ and Government’s Responsibilities

Namibia’s Constitution guarantees the rights of ‘all persons’ to education to ensure that the state’s obligations towards education find reflection and relevance in the country’s education laws.

Consequently, the new Basic Education Act (2020) continues to give practical meaning to this dictate of the Constitution, which was championed by our late president Hage Geingob and others.

The government, parents and children must continue to cherish and live up to their unique responsibilities which are symbiotically inter-related and mutually dependable.

They must enforce their common obligations of ensuring that all school-age children are in school as each has a critical role to play in this equation.

The heightened demand for school places in both grade one and eight – including the emerging re-writing needs for Namibia Senior Secondary Certificate Ordinary Level (NSSCO) and Namibia Senior Secondary Certificate Advanced Subsidiary (NSSCAS) pupils – begs for a debate on the relationship between government and parents to determine and reaffirm the locus of responsibility for ensuring that children attend school.

An attempt will be made below to apportion the responsibilities.


All children who are six years old (or about to be six) must be enrolled in pre-primary grade, and places must be found in grade 1 for those transitioning from pre-primary, as well as those coming straight from home.

Equally, all children promoted from grade 7 must be enrolled in grade 8.

It is the duty of parents to ensure that children are not only enrolled in school, but that they also go to school and attend class every single day.

To attend school means pupils must be in class and be present at all lessons, as per the school timetable. It is only then that teachers can teach them and they, in turn, can learn. 

The ministry’s school calendar dictates the dates and days on which children must attend school.

Also, pupils who don’t manage to meet the entry requirements for NSSCAS and institutions of higher learning must either secure repeat places at schools, or find alternative modes to continue their education and improve their symbols.

In turn, improved symbols would ultimately enable them to qualify for full-time NSSCAS and institution of higher learning opportunities.

Recently there have been undertones among the rank and file of society that the 2023 NSSCO and NSSCAS results ended on a positive note for a minority while leaving the majority squarely in the same spot their 2022 cohorts were in.  Therefore, to help influence the future, parents and school boards must participate in interrogating the 2023 NSSCO and NSSCAS exam results.

Their voices and footprints must be heard and seen in the new plans drawn up to remedy the situation.


Government has the mandatory responsibility to build schools and classrooms to provide physical space for teaching and learning.
It is, however, public knowledge that as much as the ministry’s physical facilities agenda is driven by real needs, it is equally influenced by the public funds at its disposal.

Despite financial constraints, the government has continued to construct classrooms across the country.

Scanning through the data in the Education Management Information System (EMIS) booklets of 1992 and 2022, one notices that in 1992, nearly two years into independence, there were 12 828 classrooms, of which 8 416 were permanent, in Namibia.

The remaining number included traditional, pre-fabricated and hired classrooms.

Fast forward to 32 years after independence, the ministry recorded 28 223 classrooms in 2022, partly comprising 24 221 permanent structures.

Increased teaching spaces have been made available to accommodate the ever-ballooning pupil population, which shot up from 439 325 in 1992 to 819 749 in 2022.

The government is still hard at work to address the scramble for places at the beginning of each academic year, as announced by the minister, by building an additional 500 new classrooms from February 2024.

This is in addition to first batch of 500, which been under construction since 2023.This number will continue to be inadequate for the foreseeable future because of the huge backlog that has accumulated over years.

This has also exacerbated by parents’ choices of some regions, towns and schools over others.


In conclusion, parents must continue to own up to their responsibilities of enabling their children to attend and remain in school.

In the same vein, the government is urged to continue accelerating and completing the construction of classrooms to help enable all Namibian children to receive education in brick-and-mortar classrooms countrywide.

– Harold KT Tjahikika is keenly interested in the planning and management of education  

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