Study

Over 30 000 learners fail to return to school

Summary

Despite efforts to ensure that all learners return to class when schools reopened following closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic, 30 502 learners nationwide could not be traced after reopening.In addition, over 4 000 girls in Namibia became pregnant w…

Despite efforts to ensure that all learners return to class when schools reopened following closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic, 30 502 learners nationwide could not be traced after reopening.

In addition, over 4 000 girls in Namibia became pregnant while the schools were closed.

Abhiyan Jung Rana, UNICEF Regional Education Advisor for Eastern and Southern Africa, revealed this on Tuesday at the opening of the National Conference on Education in the capital.

He said the regional situation is dismal and added that in order to avoid a catastrophe that is much more severe, immediate action is required.

Rana stated that while the magnitude of learning poverty must be addressed in the long run, systems must also be strengthened concurrently, particularly through the transformation of education systems to become inclusive. If not, things could get even worse.

“UNICEF is pleased to continue strengthening the global vision for digital learning for every child in Namibia in order to compensate for lost learning during school closures. This will be accomplished through a global cooperation agreement with a non-profit research partnership (ED-Tech), as well as by cultivating strategic partnerships with the private sector, particularly in the ICT sector, in order to reduce the cost of access to devices and data,” he said.

The regional education advisor further stated that while out-of-school rates among young people in lower secondary school have decreased in the sub-Saharan African region, millions remain absent, the majority of whom are girls. The reasons frequently point to poverty, early pregnancy, gender-based violence, child marriage and social norms that limit aspirations for adolescent girls and young women.

“Stigma and discrimination continue to be major barriers to access to education and the transition from learning to earning for youth with disabilities. Inequalities based on income, a lack of relevance of curricula to labour markets, a mismatch in skills to opportunities, and a lack of support for transitions into work are all barriers that prevent young people from building a better future for themselves and their communities across the region,” he said.

Strengthening public-private partnerships, leveraging innovative solutions, and investing in young people’s learning and skill development are critical to unlocking the potential of the next generation of leaders, entrepreneurs and employers, Rana said.

Source: The Namibian Press Agency