We should learn from European countries
Have you ever been to a place where everything just looks perfect? I had the opportunity to stay in Europe late last year; Norway to be specific. I went there as part of a student exchange programme and I should say I was impressed from the very moment I landed.
I was particularly astonished by the way things are run over there, from public transport to the managing of waste – everything just seemed fault free.
To start with, their education is entirely free, for both citizens and non-citizens. This allows any person to have proper education, from primary to tertiary level. Everyone stands an equal opportunity to study and secure their future despite their financial standing.
I understand that their living standard is very high, leading to higher taxes and can possibly not be compared to that of Namibia, but I still believe our government can do something about our education. I would like to believe that we can afford to have free education too. In this case, I won’t buy the famous excuse of ‘the government does not have money’.
If the government didn’t have money, then where did the money for a mansion state house come from? Where did the more than N$14 million to purchase fancy cars for high ranking officials come from? The government claims not to have money, but yet it can afford to purchase a presidential jet worth N$600 million. If we can afford that, then we can surely afford free education, even if it’s only for primary and secondary levels.
Although some schools ask as little as N$200 per learner per year, it’s still a shame that some schools still turn away pupils who cannot afford to pay school fees even though the Ministry of Education has condemned this. It’s a shame that we still have people who pass Grade 12 with flying colours, but cannot have these colours brighten their future because they cannot afford to pay for their studies.
But I suppose these problems will continue to persist until education is declared free. And then the government wonders why people do not return when they get the opportunity to study abroad. The government has the solution to brain drain; all it needs to do is implement it.
I was so ashamed when one of the Norwegian students said to me: “I don’t understand how you people can afford to come study here if your people are living in such conditions”, after a visit to Namibia. The conditions she was referring to, are that of people living in informal settlements on the outskirts of Windhoek.
The other thing I would take my hat off for to the Norwegian government is that it really takes care of its people. The poor and unemployed receive a monthly grant and their accommodation is taken care of by the government, while our government claims it is unable to give the poor N$100 per month.
During my stay in Norway, several members of parliament from our national council also paid the country a visit in order to observe and learn and report back to the government. I hope to see several changes soon. Let’s try and learn from these people, let’s stop enriching ourselves only and take care of the nation as a whole.
But despite our failures, we also have something to be proud of – our warm, friendly and diversely rich culture. Now that I missed.