The Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) Namibia Compact, providing grant funding for public investments in Education, Tourism and Agriculture (livestock and indigenous natural products), was signed on 28 July 2008 between the Republic of Namibia and the US Government, acting through the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC). An amount of US$304.5 million will be available for development in the target sectors, over and above current Government allocations and assistance from other development partners.
MCA Namibia, which is a programme implementation unit working under the auspices of the National Planning Commission, is implementing the Programme (www.mca.gov.na).
In Education, the Programme seeks to bring the quality of the work force closer to the requirements of industry and the labour market at large. This is in line with the aspirations of Vision 2030 and the 3rd National Development Plan’s strategic objective for “productive and competitive human resource and institutions”; whose values informed the programming, content and activities of the Education and Training Sector Improvement Programme (ETSIP). ETSIP was developed in collaboration with a number of bilateral and multilateral governments/donors/partners. Among the major bilateral partners supporting the implementation of ETSIP is the Government of United States of America whose support to ETSIP implementation is being executed by the MIllenium Challenge Corporation. The Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) was established in January 2004 as a United States Government Corporation to implement the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA). MCC’s mission is to reduce poverty by supporting sustainable, transformative economic growth in developing countries, which create and maintain sound policy environments. MCC is designed to support innovative strategies and to ensure accountability. The MCC will thus be a party to a Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of Namibia and governments and donor communities supporting the implementation of ETSIP and will be party to the ETSIP Annual Review Meeting hosted by the Ministry of Education.
The MCA Namibia Education Project contributes to Education and Training Sector Improvement Programme (ETSIP). It aims to improve the competency and knowledge of young Namibians by supporting new and innovative methods of learning in addition to the more traditional approaches to education and improve physical infrastructure for learning and teaching in schools, regional study and resource centres and Community Based Skills Development Centres. Reference is made to Annex 1 for the project locations.
ETSIP represents the education and training sector’s response to the call of Vision 2030. Its key purpose is to substantially enhance the sector’s contribution to the attainment of strategic national development goals, and to facilitate the transition to a knowledge based economy. In the immediate future, it will improve the quality, range and threshold of skilled labour required to improve knowledge-driven productivity growth, and thus contribute to economic growth. By adopting a pro-poor approach to the distribution of opportunities for high quality and market-responsive education and training opportunities, ETSIP will contribute directly to the attainment of equitable social development by addressing sector weaknesses, among others; (a) low quality and effectiveness as evidenced in low student learning outcomes; (b) low efficiency in the use of available resources; (c) persisting inequalities in the distribution of education input and outcomes; (d) low capacity for knowledge creation and application; and (c) doubtful development and market relevance. In addition, diverse studies identified (a) inadequate financial resources; (b) low system delivery capacity, and (c) HIV and AIDS as key constraints to the transformation of the education and training system into an effective tool for supporting development.
The first phase of ETSIP will focus on strengthening of the immediate supply of middle to high level skilled labour to meet labour market demands and support overall national development goals. Such supply of labour is critical for improving not only the overall productivity, but higher value-added productivity. The MCA-Namibia programme will assist the country to realise these objectives.
For ease and feasibility of implementation, ETSIP is phased into three five-year cycles, with the first cycle spanning 2006/07 to 2010/11- (now extended to 2013), which coincides with the 3rd National Development Plan. It is a comprehensive sector-wide programme that covers: (i) early childhood development and pre-primary education, (ii) general education, (iii) vocational education and training, (iv) tertiary education and training, (v) knowledge and innovation, and (vi) information, adult and lifelong learning.
In response to immediate needs, the first phase of ETSIP will focus on strengthening of the immediate supply of middle to high level skilled labour to meet labour market demands and support overall national development goals. Strengthening labour supply is critical for poverty reduction and redressing social inequalities, immediate objectives of the MCA Namibia Programme.
II. Project description and cost
The MCA Namibia Programme intends to improve the effectiveness, efficiency and quality of Namibia’s education sector through systemic reforms and critical interventions that are consistent with the objectives of the Education and Training Sector Improvement Programme (ETSIP). In particular, MCC funding will be used to improve the quality of education and training and access for under-served groups thereby enhancing the quality of the labour force increasing (self-) employment perspectives of many young people in Namibia. The Education Project comprises of the following activities:
As cross-project support, the MCA Namibia Programme will contribute to the management and prevention of HIV and AIDS in the education sector by supporting the HIV/AIDS Management Unit (HAMU) in the Ministry of Education (MoE).