Poverty Also Affects Education

The Deputy Speaker of the fifth Children’s Parliament, Shaandre Finnies, is questioning and challenging the government’s focus on only a single education system saying it should rather look into external factors as well such as poverty.

On Monday the Namibian youth gathered at the After School Centre in Katutura to join the rest of the African continent in the commemoration and celebration of the Day of the African Child. Speaking at the event under the theme ‘A child friendly, quality, free and compulsory education for all children in Africa’, Finnies says: “We cannot just focus on good education system. We need to look into the lifestyle of the Namibian children. How will I achieve good grades if I have to look after my brothers and sisters after school because my mother has to go to work when she is a security guard? How can we expect a progressive youth if they are not aided to be able to progress? Why it is that only certain schools are invited to this event? Events like this should be taken very serious and should be prioritised as well.

“We want children in the villages to also be part of these celebrations, to hear these speeches and be inspired. We must by all means encourage discourse in our schools and youth organisations. Children are the epicentre for economic development and its time that we get past our colonial hangover and make sure the youths interests are implanted and not just spoken about,” adds Finnies.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO)education programme specialist,Cecilia Barbieri, who concurs with Finnies is also appealing to the governmentto reflect and accelerate its actions towards the theme.”We are witnessing times when attacks on education are becoming more frequent, when violence on children, and gender based [violence] is escalating, when marginalised groups are still denied their right to learn. Through events such as the one organised today, we must continue raising these concerns to the top of the agenda for decision-makers all over the continent and call for a renewed commitment from world leaders to protect and uphold the right to education for every boy and girl,” emphaises Barbieri.

Barbieri adds that education has a critical role to play in developing the knowledge and skills for youth to become positive agents of change, and therefore, this implies nurturing their ability to build and maintain peace, to engage in political and civic processes that work for the public good, and to create an economic future that provides sustainable livelihoods.

Minister of Gender Equality and Child Welfare, Rosalia Nghidinwa urged, aises all children to refrain from sexual activities ,focus on their future and have a plan of what they want to become for them to contribute to the development of our continent. She also encourages children to put respect first above all well as put effort into their books for a better future. “Respect your parents, respect your leaders and respect yourself, read your books, love your books because that is where your future lies,” says Nghidinwa.

The youth were entertained by various traditional groups from A. Shipena Secondary School as well as musical performances by traditional music singer, Tunakie, and Kwaito artist, Exit.

June 16 marked the 36th anniversary of a youth-led movement that shook Africa when in 1976 thousands of students from Soweto, South Africa, marched in the streets protesting against the substandard education system and demanded to be taught in their own languages. Hundreds were killed and many more were injured during protests which followed. In 1991, the Organization of African Unity (OAU), now the African Union (AU), declared June 16 the Day of the African Child, to commemorate these events and celebrate the African youth.

Source : New Era