Management and Administration of Education

A single ministry of education was created at independence by unifying the previous racial and ethnically based education authorities.  The single ministry of basic education has its head quarters in Windhoek.  The Permanent Secretary is the administrative head of the ministry assisted by a deputy Permanent Secretary and two Under Secretaries.  In 1995 the Ministry of Higher Education, Vocational Training Science and Technology (MHEVTST) was created thus making a clear separation between basic, and higher education.  The administration of the Ministry of Basic Education, Sport and Culture (MBESC) is carried out through the department of Formal Education programmes and the department of Culture and Lifelong Learning, which are headed by the two Under Secretaries. 

The department of Formal Education Programmes consists of the following Directorates:

  • Directorate of Educational Programme Implementation and Monitoring
  • Directorate of Inspectorate and Advisory Services
  • Directorate of Special Education Programmes
  • Directorate of National Examination and Assessment

The department of Culture, Arts and Lifelong Learning consists of the following Directorates:

  • Directorate of Adult Basic Education
  • Directorate of Arts and Culture
  • Directorate of Library and Archives Services

Working closely with the two departments are the Directorates of General Services, National Institute for Educational Development (NIED), Planning and Development as well as the Directorate of Sport, which fall under the office of the Deputy Permanent Secretary. 

The whole country was originally divided into 7 educational regions which at the end of 2002 were sub divided into 13 regions headed by Regional Directors of Education, in compliance with the central government policy of decentralising central government functions to the 13 political/administrative regions.  While the Ministry is overall responsible for the running of the education system, it is the regional education offices that shoulder the bulk of the implementation of educational programmes on a day to day basis by working closely with schools and communities in their respective regions. The decentralisation of the Ministry's administrative structures was in compliance with the central government policy to devolve some functions of line Ministries to the 13 national administrative regions.

Duration of compulsory education: 10 years

Starting age of compulsory education: 6 years

Ending age of compulsory education: 15 years

Enrolment in 2007*

Gross enrolment rate 108.8 109.7 109.2
Net enrolment rate 89.0 84.1 86.5
Gross enrolment rate 63.6 54.4 59.0
Net enrolment rate 53.5** 44.3** 48.9**

Pupil - Teacher Ratios in 2007*

  • Primary: 29.9 pupils per teacher
  • Secondary: 24.6 pupils per teache

*latest data as of March 2009 from UNESCO Institute for Statistics.

** UNESCO Institute for Statistics estimation for 2006


See the SACMEQ reports for more information.