One learner, one textbook, not yet
The Ministry of Education is committed to achieve a 1:1 textbook learner ratio with a textbook budget for the fiscal year 2013/ 2014 of just over N$74 million. Of the total, N$36 million goes to primary education and N$38 million to secondary.
According to a statement issues by the ministry, the prime mandate and ambition of the Ministry of Education is to provide ‘Quality Education for All’. ‘Quality Education for All’ can be achieved through the provision of resources such as textbooks, quality teachers as well as conducive learning and teaching environments.
“A textbook in the hand of each learner will always make a difference through independent reading opportunities and access to information. For schools to receive textbooks they submit their needs to the Regional Councils. The Regional Councils then submit their textbooks needs to the Ministry of Education’s head office,” the ministry said.
The ministry compiles the requisitions for textbooks from the regions into one summarized country report. Thereafter, a tender is advertised for the print and supply of textbooks. The first tender run, advertised in April was cancelled by the tender board. The tender was re-advertised in August and closed in September. The ministry said more interest has been shown for this tender hence more time is required to determine the outcome of the tender process. The impact from the delayed tender on the distribution of textbooks to the regions, is minimal, even should the printed textbooks only be received in the first quarter of 2014. “The public should also be assured that there is no textbook crisis looming as reported in the local media. Evidently, textbooks procured through the regional budgets in the tender in question are simply meant to top up the existing stock in schools and should not be taken as if there are no textbooks at all,” said the ministry.
About 900 000 copies of textbooks covering key subjects (i.e science, mathematics and English) has already been procured by the Millennium Challenge Account- Namibia. Through MCA-Namibia, publishers have started delivering textbooks to schools, and the contract runs up to January 2014. The education ministry is currently reviewing the curriculum for 2015. The new curriculum will require new textbooks which will be procured in 2014 for 2015.