Rustenburg – Private schools in Namibia want teaching to resume with face-to-face classes, but the government has refused the request, local media reported on Wednesday.
Daily newspaper the New Era reported that the country’s education ministry rejected a formal request by private schools to resume with face-to-face learning amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
The executive director in the ministry of education, Sanet Steenkamp, told the newspaper the ministry was approached by the association of private schools and individual schools, asking permission to open their doors to learners.
The request came days after the government announced that face-to-face classes would only resume by August 3, as part of measures to help contain the spread of Covid-19.
According to Steenkamp, all schools should follow guidelines to ensure the safety of children, teachers and staff members.
The government has in the meantime allowed schools to conduct classes through online platforms, but the system has been criticised for not catering to all pupils.
The Namibian newspaper reported last week that the government had cut subsidies to 206 private schools after finding that funds were “misappropriated”.
One of the requirements for private schools to receive the subsidy was that 10% of its enrolment should be disadvantaged children.
Education Minister Anna Nghipondoka told the newspaper the reason the funding was stopped in 2018 was due to a shortage of funds and because the funding model was not universal.
“We are working on a subsidy policy to private schools to see how to revive it. Funding was to allow for pupils from disadvantaged families to enrol at those schools, but that did not happen,” the minister said.
Funds meant to be disbursed to private schools were subsequently channelled to state schools.
African News Agency (ANA)