Following the introduction of Free Universal Primary Education, which has spurred enrolment, Namibia has scrapped exam fees for pupils writing junior and senior secondary school certificates
According to Education Minister Katrina Hanse-Himarwa, the directive will be effective in 2016, and parents are only obligated to pay hostel fees for pupils in boarding, Xinhua reported.
Namibia has sought to remove the barriers impeding access to education and in 2013 former President Hifikepunye Pohamba’s government introduced Free Universal Primary Education. Free Universal Secondary Education was recently proposed and a call was made by President Hage Geingob for tertiary education study loans to be turned into grants.
Provision of Free Universal Primary Education in Namibia is already bearing fruits. According to data from Namibia’s Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture, “Since the introduction of free primary education in 2012, the country continues to exceed the target for pre-primary school enrolment of 22 000 by enrolling 24 659 children in 2014 and 34 000 this year, New Era reported.
The education ministry has however noted the need to improve the quality of education. Hanse-Himarwa,noted: “It is not just enough for children to have universal access to free primary education, but it is crucial that our children receive quality education and complete their primary education”.
Expensive school fees and examination fees continue to be a stumbling block preventing students in many African countries from accessing education. The scrapping of exam fees in Namibia and proposals to provide free secondary education are positive developments.
Countries such as the Gambia have recently abolished school fees to ensure pupils have access to education despite their economic status. Recently, Kaduna State in Nigeria announced it was abolishing primary school fees.