Education remains the world’s best bet for a fairer and better world, and Namibia therefore fully supports the Paris Declaration’s call to invest in education for the future of humanity and the planet.
President Hage Geingob said this in Paris, France on Wednesday during the Unesco 2021 Global Education meeting and the adoption of the Paris Declaration: A Global Call for Investing in Futures of Education.
“Many often say education is the greatest equaliser. It is only through education as a public good that I, the son of a farmworker at a white-owned farm, can become the President of Namibia; or the daughter of a cleaner a medical doctor,” he stated.
“Many of us here come from different socio-economic backgrounds. However, we have one common denominator – education.”
Geingob added that Namibia has, since independence in 1990, continued to invest a high percentage of its national budget in education, which makes the education sector the largest recipient of the allocated funds from government.
In the last year alone, Namibia spent 28% of the total government expenditure on education.
“This is above the 15-20% threshold aspiration we seek through this meeting,” he noted.
More importantly, Geingob said at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic and the nationwide lockdown, the government rolled out a stimulus package to public and private educational institutions to strengthen information and communication technology infrastructure, including bandwidth for online teaching and learning.
“In order to reach the objective of a fairer society, which is consistent with the 2030 goals, the government will endeavour to do more to deliver efficient, qualitative and equitable educational services to those living in remote areas, particularly women, girls and other vulnerable groups,” he committed.
The head of state said he is an eternal optimist, and believes the globe should maintain the momentum and continue investing in education as a key enabler for a shared global post-Covid-19 economic recovery.
To do so and to ensure that no one is left behind as part of UN Sustainable Development Goal 4, the world should strengthen multilateral, multi-stakeholder and cross-sectoral cooperation, he suggested.
“Education is not a commodity. We should reaffirm education as a public good, which is vital in building sustainable and inclusive societies.”
The meeting highlighted global political commitments to emphasise the status of education and its investment necessities as key drivers for the recovery of education after the pandemic in the world, and the acceleration of progress towards the 2030 sustainable development progress plan, which paves the way for the future of education.
The Paris Declaration was adopted on Wednesday during a meeting which stipulates the renewal of the commitment of national and international leaders to invest in education –locally and internationally.
Heads of state, more than 40 ministers of education and representatives of international organisations participated in the meeting.