Inclusive Education policy in Namibia
- Sector Policy on Inclusive Education
- Namibian Ministry of Arts, Education and Culture
- Country of Implementation
- Subsaharan Africa
- Start Year
- First published
“The basic pre-vocational course is exciting, as it has given me hope that I will get a job in the future in the open labour market” Malakia Auguste, a learner from the school for Visual Impairment
In 2013, the Namibian Ministry of Education (MoE) introduced the Sector Policy on Inclusive Education to support all children to learn and participate fully in the education system. The policy is mandatory for all government bodies and all subsidized institutions responsible for education, from early childhood to the post-secondary level. Setting out eight guiding principles of implementation, the policy foresees teacher training and the support of assistant teachers in the classroom to facilitate inclusion. In 2019, 2,328 children with disabilities directly benefitted from the policy.
Children with disabilities in Namibia often face discrimination in schools and do not have full access to education. In addition, many have to travel great distances to accessible schools, especially in rural areas.
Solution, Innovation and Impact
Before the policy was established, the Ministry of Education (MoE) carried out a campaign to identify the needs of all learners in schools and in the community. After consultations with parents, community leaders, teachers, disability organizations, and NGOs, an Inclusive Education policy was developed. It is geared not only towards children with disabilities but also includes all vulnerable children and children from disadvantaged communities. The policy has eight guiding principles, which range from the setting of legal frameworks to awareness raising and the support to invest in more resources, both in infrastructure and staff. Schools apply directly for support, for example, for infrastructure adaptations or accessible learning materials. Other measures concern a curricular review to reflect the diversity of needs of all learners, the development of teacher education and training for support staff, and a mechanism for monitoring and evaluating the implementation of the policy. In 2019, inclusive schools have been established in seven of Namibia’s 14 regions. In addition, enrolment of children with disabilities has increased, special schools have been transformed into resource schools for mainstream schools, and Inclusive Education officers have been appointed to support schools.
Funding, Outlook and Transferability
The Ministry of Education funds the policy at a total of $170,000 per year, with support from UN agencies and NGOs that carry out the funded projects. All schools receive funds directly, depending on their number of learners. The policy is enforced and monitored through regular questionnaires and school visits. The MoE wants to extend access to quality education further, especially for educationally marginalized learners, and plans to increase its support to early childhood development. The MoE believes that the policy can be replicated in different environments by adopting the eight guiding principles to local requirements.