President Hage Geingob said Namibia stands ready to support better coordination and strengthening of mechanisms to accelerate the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 4 in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic and beyond.
Geingob made this assurance during UNESCO’s extraordinary session of the Global Education Meeting that was co-hosted by the governments of Ghana, Norway and the United Kingdom yesterday.
The virtual meeting provided a unique platform for exchange among high-level political leaders, policymakers and global education actors to protect and rethink education in the current and post-Covid-19.
They also agreed on global priority actions for educational recovery and progress in the Decade of Action for Sustainable Development.
Geingob thanked UNESCO and the host governments for convening the meeting “at a critical juncture for the future of humanity and the education of our children”.
The President said the call to reimagine and recommit to education is opportune, at a time when the Covid-19 global pandemic is leaving millions without jobs and exacerbating poverty and exclusion.
“I have always held the deep conviction that education is the greatest equaliser. In that vein, the Namibian Government places in line with the SDG-4, importance on access to quality education,” he said.
He emphasised that the Namibian education system, which has been based on access, equity and quality receives more than 20% of the national budget.
“We have succeeded in expanding access and equity in the education sector. Unfortunately, Covid-19 threatens to reverse the gains we have made in pursuance of the goal of quality education for all,” he
The head of state added that during this time of Covid-19, Namibia ensured that no learner was left behind. He noted that additional resources have been allocated to infrastructure improvement, water, sanitation and learner accommodation.
He said under Covid-19, Namibia had to ensure that the reopening of schools occurs under conditions that are consistent with the commitment to health as the biggest priority.
The safe return of learners to school was guided by the World Health Organisation’s Covid-19 best practices for ensuring physical distancing, including time-based cohorts or platooning, he said.