DPan-African Parliament Committee on Education, Culture, Tourism and Human Resources paid a Courtesy Call on the Chairperson of the National Council Hon. Margaret Mensah-Williams for its Study to the National Council. Hon. Amina Souna (4th from left-front row) is the Chairperson of the Committee
|Story by Rafael Hangula
The Pan- African Parliament (PAP) Committee on Education, Culture, Tourism and Human Resource is in Namibia for a week long Study Visit to the National Council. The Committee is here to acquire best practices in the areas of Education, Culture, Tourism and Human Resources.
In addition to Namibia, the Committee consists of representatives from various African countries. Namibia is represented by Hon. Lebbius Tobias a Member of Parliament and SWAPO Party Chief Whip in the National Council. Other countries are Niger, Mauritius, Togo, Sudan, and Lesotho. Hon. Amina Souna from Niger is the Chairperson of the Committee. The visit which started on Monday is expected to end on 6 July 2018.
Pan-African Parliament is the legislative body of the African Union and is responsible for facilitating the effective implementation of the policies and objectives of the African Union, promote the principle of human rights and democracy in Africa, encourage good governance, transparency and accountability in Member States, familiarise the peoples of Africa with the objectives and policies aimed at integrating the African continent within the framework of the establishment of the African Union, promote peace, security and stability amongst other responsibilities.
The Committee is mandated to consider issues related to the development of human resources in Member States as well as to assist Parliament to promote policy development and implementation of programmes of the Union relating to access to education, promotion and preservation of culture and tourism and human resource development.
The Committee paid a Courtesy Call on the Chairperson of the National Council Hon. Margaret Mensah-Williams as well as on the Minister of Education, Arts and Culture Hon. Katrina Hanse-Himarwa and shared the purpose of visiting Namibia.
“The purpose of this visit first of all is to enhance relationship between the Pan-Africa Parliament committee on education, culture, tourism and human resources and the committees in charge of education, culture and tourism at the Namibian parliament,” said the chairperson of the committee. “This visit will also enable us to reform many challenges in education, cultural and tourism sectors in Namibia,” she added.
Hon. Mensah-Williams welcomed the delegation and informed the committee that education is a very important sector and therefore it is necessary for Namibia to exchange what is in place in order to assist the committee in developing the continent.
Mensah-Williams further said that ministry of education recently revised its basic education curricula as part of government’s education reform efforts to address challenges such as Poor quality of education as shown in standardised achievement tests and national examinations, high repetition and drop-out rates, children starting school late, poor quality achieved in small isolated schools, insufficient qualified teachers and many others.
She added that some of the main challenges facing the education sector include lack of space for children in schools, shortage of school hostels facilities, lack of learning and teaching materials, lack of chairs, desks, beds and mattresses, classrooms, lack of libraries and laboratories. She also shared that, “Namibia achieved success in enhancing the education sector at all levels, but there is still room for improvement. However, the country needs to focus on capacity-building of instructors at vocational training centres and expand centres to all the regions.”
“If we can also support each other and exchange teachers.., why should we have foreign volunteers? Why can’t we also start as volunteers in Africa, let’s start volunteering so that we can start building a united Africa,” she advised.
On the tourism part she said “tourism remains one of the booming economic sectors in Namibia and hence the Government of the Republic of Namibia has prioritized the tourism sector as one of the sectors that has the capacity and potential to reduce poverty, advance rural development, and create more jobs.”
She added that tourism revenue helps with conservation, preservation of Namibia’s natural and cultural heritage as well as biodiversity.
During the courtesy call on the minister of education, the minister said “since independence we went already through three major education reforms. Currently we are busy with the third education reform and it is not easy, it is challenging. We need to review, reform from time to time because education is never and it can never be static, it is very dynamic.”
The ministry of education, arts & culture is expected to unpack its success and challenges during the working meeting with the delegation on Tuesday.
The chairperson of the committee has promised that the committee will take note of all the recommendations for implementation.