Education Minister Abraham Iyambo announced that the state plans to send 1.7 million books to schools throughout Namibia. The books are estimated to cost approximately N$137 million. The measure will ensure that every pupil has textbooks by the end of 2013. So far, 54.7% or 990,000 of the textbooks have been distributed.
The books were funded by The Millennium Challenge Account (MCA), a US-funded program that offers development aid to countries that adopt economic and political reforms. The fund was initiated in 2004 under the Bush administration. The account has partnered with Namibia to provide textbooks in Mathematics, Science, and English for grades 5 through 12.
The state started to distribute the books in April and has been often delayed, leaving many discouraged. Iyambo recounts, ”In 2010, I heard a school in the Kavango Region had a 50:1 learner-textbook ratio, because the teacher kept the textbooks that were there in storage. But that is now a thing of the past.”
Iyambo claims to make the current ratio of children to textbooks, 3:1, a thing of the past by the end of this year. The minister has set February 20 as the deadline for the textbooks to be delivered. “This deadline date is non-negotiable,” said Iyambo.
The ministry has also successfully sent out free stationary and materials to all primary schools in the country. The state of education has looked quite promising, ever since the pronouncement of universal free primary education to all Namibian children last summer.
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