Ten millionth educational booklet printed

Otis Daniels_Finck
Namibia Media Holdings (NMH) was entrusted with the printing and distribution of National Educational Support Study Materials – a venture that began during lockdown last year when the country was not spared from the Covid-19 pandemic and continues to this day.

The project that enabled NMH to print and distribute these study materials throughout the country, was made possible by the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture (MoEAC) along with Unicef, Bank Windhoek / Capricorn Foundation, and the Namibia Community Trust, and technical support by a dedicated team of teachers from various schools in Windhoek.

As learners returned to school in 2021, MoEAC together with stakeholders and partners, continued with the printing and distribution of study materials to run parallel with face-to-face lessons; while mitigating the spread of the pandemic, children could continue their education.

This is one of the largest Public-Private Partnership Projects in education, all carried out by a dedicated team that includes eight teachers; two senior education officers; 18 translators; 15 designers; 37 drivers; 54 printers; two sign language teachers; two online school teachers and many others that ensure this project is a success.

All content goes through a quality assurance process with officials from the National Institute for Educational Development (NIED). The books are translated into 12 languages, namely English, Afrikaans, German, Oshikwanyama, Oshindonga, Otjiherero, Khoekhoegowab, Rukwangali, Rumanyo, Thimbukushu, Silozi and Sign language.

“This project has given wings to our education system and allowed us to reach learners from all backgrounds in their mother tongue,” says Octavia Tsibes, head of the My Zone team who initiated the project in 2020.

“My Zone is passionate about education and its ability to uplift, empower, inspire and equip our learners to become strong leaders who can take their future into their own hands.

“This project is so much more than just booklets. It’s a mechanism for change. A tool to inspire. A way to take our country forward. With the assistance of the ministry and their belief in NMH to take this project to the next level, we are able to overcome the challenges of Covid-19 and see possibilities within the impossibilities,” Tsibes said.

Eye opener

On 8 October 2021, NMH celebrated the printing of its 10 millionth copy of the Educational Project booklets.

The project began in March 2020 when the first Covid-19 lockdown was imposed. The pandemic opened the country’s eyes to the lack of resources that many children in Namibia experienced. The need was clear: Affordable, quality educational materials in the child’s language of instruction.

According to NMH Education Project Coordinator Sharnay Botha, education during the early years is more than just preparation for primary school. “It focuses on the holistic development of a child’s social, emotional, cognitive and physical needs. This builds a solid and broad foundation for lifelong learning and well-being. It is the first step to nurturing responsible, capable and caring citizens. Teachers at Early Childhood Development (ECD) centres are often not qualified and have limited to no resources to educate the children. Many ECD centres are also located in remote areas of the country, making it difficult for resources to reach them.”

However, with this project’s approach to distribution, these ECD centres are reached three times a week.

Botha said that for the 2021 edition of the project, a greater focus was placed on the pre-primary and ECD phases. “ECDs across the country were approached and now over 500 of these centres receive weekly educational material in various languages. This number continues to grow as more centres contact us seeking materials. Other kindergartens, day-care centres and after-school facilities have also reached out to receive educational books.”

Namibia Media Holdings, being the project coordinator, sincerely thanks their partners: The Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture, Bank Windhoek / Capricorn Foundation, the Namibian Community Trust, Unicef, Amos Meerkat Project Schools and My Zone Education Program.

“The educational materials are crucial in the holistic development of our young children to ensure that they have a solid foundation towards academic success and lifelong learning, especially during the challenging times of the Covid-19 pandemic,” executive director of the MoEAC, Sanet Steenkamp said.

“As a ministry, we have absolute appreciation for all our development partners, stakeholders involved as well as for this smart partnership with NMH for their genuine interest and investment, working tirelessly with our teachers and education officers to ensure that meaningful learning continues despite the challenges. These concerted efforts are contributing and ensuring that basic numeracy and literacy competencies are achieved. No child should fall behind. These ten million print of the booklets at NMH is not just a historic milestone but a tangible and invaluable tool showcasing the importance of partnerships in our country. Congratulations to NMH and all other donors!”