- Early childhood care and education (Entry/Establishment ○ Financial operation ○ Quality of teaching and learning ○ Equitable access ○ Quality assurance, monitoring and accountability)
- Primary and secondary education (Entry/Establishment ○ Financial operation ○ Quality of teaching and learning ○ Equitable access ○ Quality assurance, monitoring and accountability)
- Tertiary education (Entry/Establishment ○ Financial operation ○ Quality of teaching and learning ○ Equitable access ○ Quality assurance, monitoring and accountability)
The Basic Education Act 2020, which governs pre-primary to upper secondary education in Namibia, defines a “private” school as a “school which is established, maintained and owned or operated by private individuals or institutions at the expense of the owner”. Non-state actors that can establish and manage private schools are a “natural person, body corporate, trust, church, or a registered welfare organization”. According to the Higher Education Act 2003, “private” higher education institutions are institutions which are “established and maintained at the expense of owner”.
Most education (89% of schools and 94% of enrolments) in primary (7 years, starting at age 6) and secondary (5 years, starting at age 13) level in Namibia is provided by the state. According to the Basic Education Act 2020, education is free and compulsory from pre-primary level (1 year, integrated into primary) to senior secondary level (3 years, ending at age 18). While the official language of Namibia is English, the Language Policy for Schools in Namibia 2003 encourages the Minister responsible for basic education to declare mother-tongue languages to be used as the medium of instruction in grades 1 – 3 of state schools with the objective to “respect..the diverse language communities of the country”. However, according to the 2018 Education Statistics, most schools (both state and non-state) continue to use English as their language of instruction.
Non-state managed, state schools
No information was found.
Non-state funded, state schools
No information was found.
Independent, non-state schools
Private schools are independent non-state schools in Namibia which are established, operated, and funded either for-profit by individuals or corporations, or not-for-profit by trusts, religious institutions, or registered welfare organizations. Private schools (which may be either boarding schools or regular day-schools) may adopt a different curriculum, language of instruction, and examination system compared to state schools (subject to the Minister’s approval). There are a few private international schools operating in Namibia, for example, which follow recognized international curricula such as International Baccalaureate or Cambridge. However, if a private school instructs in a language other than English, the Minister may determine a minimum time to be allocated to teaching students the English language.
While private schools in Namibia tend to be diverse in terms of curriculum followed, value orientation, and profit status, they remain minor in overall provision compared to state schools, covering only 6% of total enrolments and 11% of all schools in primary and secondary education in the country. Khomas region has the highest number of private schools in Namibia, with 39% of all schools in the region being non-state owned.
State funded (government-aided), non-state schools
Aided private schools are non-profit private schools in Namibia which are granted different forms of aid by the state (in the form of subsidies, provision of staff and/or material) if they adhere to certain conditions, which include being non-profit institutions, having an established school board, and a learners’ code of conduct.
Contracted non-state schools
No information was found.
According to the Basic Education Act 2020, parents or guardians may register a child to be homeschooled in Namibia if it is deemed to be in the child’s best interests, or if a situation relating to health or disability prevents the child from regular school attendance. In these cases, the education received at home from parents, guardians or privately appointed tutors is required to be based on the national, legally approved academic curriculum, while the education standard must not be inferior to that in state schools. All homeschooling is subject to regular inspection by the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture (MoEAC), and if during an inspection the minimum criteria are found to no longer be met, the registration may be withdrawn.
During the COVID-19 lockdown in March 2020, the MoEAC ordered the closure of all state and private schools in Namibia, and planned to ensure the continuity of learning through take-home learning packages, educational television and radio programs, and online learning platforms.
Market contracted (Voucher schools)
No information was found.
The MoEAC has often raised concern about the “mushrooming of unregistered and unlicensed private schools” which operate without the proper documentation. Any private school that fails to abide with the registration requirements and “does not adhere to the directive, legal action” is subject to closure with immediate effect. In official government statistics however, only registered schools are reported.
The Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture (MoEAC) in Namibia oversees the entire education system in the country (including state and non-state institutions) through the Minister responsible for basic education (supervising pre-primary to upper secondary level) and the Minister responsible for higher education (supervising tertiary education). The National Council for Higher Education (NCHE) was additionally established under the Higher Education Act 2003 to monitor the establishment and quality all tertiary education institutions (TEIs) operating in Namibia.
The Basic Education Act 2020 began gradually decentralizing the supervision of the education system, through the establishment of regional education forums and regional education offices responsible for the monitoring and supervision of state and non-state institutions in each region (reporting directly to the MoEAC).
Vision: According to the Constitution of 1990 (as amended in 2014), all persons in Namibia have the right to establish non-state education institutions at any level, provided that they are registered under a state department, and that they strictly follow existing regulations (Article 20). The Education Strategic Plan 2017/18 - 2021/22 views “opportunities” in the public-private partnerships developed with non-state actors in education and states that the MoEAC plans “closer collaboration with civil society” and that “relationships with NGOs, the private sector, and local and international partners will be strengthened”.
Early childhood care and education (ECCE) in Namibia is mainly divided into early childhood development (ECD) centers (ages 0 – 4, but mainly catering to children ages 3 – 4) and pre-primary education (ages 5 – 6), the latter of which was integrated into primary education in 2017 (and covered under Multi-level regulations). ECD centers are mostly (73%) established and operated by non-state actors in Namibia, including NGOs, communities, and church-based organizations.
While early childhood education was originally under the supervision of the Directorate of Community and Early Childhood Development within the Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare, the MoEAC has committed to fully incorporating the sector within the Ministry, while planning to establish a separate Directorate responsible for Early Childhood Development, as well a national early childhood education policy.
Registration and approval: According to the Child Care and Protection Act 2015, any person or organization wishing to establish an ECD center in Namibia is required to make an application based on the prescribed form to the Minister responsible for the protection of children (through the relevant regional or local council). All applications must be accompanied with a description of services offered, a health certificate, list of staff qualifications, police clearance certificates for all staff, and a building plan approval. Upon receiving the application, the Minister may direct an authorized officer to inspect the facilities and submit a report on whether they comply with the required standards. See Multi-level regulations for additional information on pre-primary education.
License: If the Minister has reason to believe the centre will be operated in the best interests of the children and fulfils all the minimum standards set out in the Child Care and Protection Act 2015 and the Standards for Residential Child Care Facilities, Places of Care, Early Childhood Development Centres and Shelters 2019, he/she will issue a certificate of registration, which remains valid for five years. See Multi-level regulations for additional information on pre-primary education.
Profit-making: According to the Early Childhood Development Draft Policy, ECD centres may operate either for profit or not-for-profit, although only non-profit institutions are eligible to apply for state subsidies. See Multi-level regulations for additional information on pre-primary education.
Taxes and subsidies: Any ECD centre established by a non-profit organization that is registered under the Ministry and complies with the minimum standards set out in the Child Care and Protection Act 2015 may apply for state funding. Any funding provided however is required to be used for upgrading facilities, training staff, developing programs, or any other related expenses. State-funded ECD centers may additionally receive state donations in the form of toys, equipment, and food supplements. The 2017 strategy for Incorporating Early Childhood Development into the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture states that additional state assistance will be required due to the planned expansion of ECD in Namibia. See Multi-level regulations for additional information on pre-primary education.
Curriculum and education standards: Based on the ECD integration plan, the MoEAC plans to develop a national curriculum for children aged 0 – 4 in ECD centres. See Multi-level regulations for additional information on pre-primary education.
Teaching profession: All caregivers employed in ECD centres are required to provide proof of their training and qualifications and police clearance certificates upon registration. Standards additionally state that if a centre accommodates any children with special needs, the caregivers must be specifically trained. See Multi-level regulations for additional information on pre-primary education.
Fee-setting: While the fee structure of ECD centres must be submitted upon application for approval, there were no regulations found regarding the fee-setting in ECD centres. See Multi-level regulations for additional information on pre-primary education.
Admission selection and processes: No information was found for ECD centres. See Multi-level regulations for additional information on pre-primary education.
Policies for vulnerable groups: No information was found for ECD centres. See Multi-level regulations for additional information on pre-primary education.
Reporting requirements: According to the Child Care and Protection Act 2015, all ECD centers are required to submit annual reports to the Minister which includes information on the number of children served and the financial position of the facility. See Multi-level regulations for additional information on pre-primary education.
Inspection: The local authority or regional council may authorize a person to enter any ECD center without notice to inspect the facility, its management, and any relevant documents, and submit a report to the council on whether the center complies with minimum standards. See Multi-level regulations for additional information on pre-primary education.
Child assessment: Any person who provides ECD services (and works closely with the children in the center) is required to identify, record and report on the progress and developmental needs of the children concerned and must have the required skills and training in identifying any “irregular or dysfunctional behavior, developmental delays” and physical disabilities”.
Sanctions: If any person interferes with the inspection (which should be conducted at least once a year), that person will be liable upon conviction to a fine up to N$4,000 (268.63 USD) and/or imprisonment up to one year. If on the other hand minimum standards are found to not be met, the Minister may order the centre to be closed. If any facility is found to not be registered, the Minister may instruct the manager to close down the centre or apply for registration within a specified timeframe, which if not complied with, the manager will be liable upon conviction to a fine of N$100 (6.72 USD) for each day the facility remains open. See Multi-level regulations for additional information on pre-primary education.
Registration and approval: See Multi-level regulations.
Licence: See Multi-level regulations.
Water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH): The Minister is responsible for ensuring that all schools in Namibia are provided with adequate water and sanitation facilities, which includes developing a national safety framework and school health policy. All governing boards of private schools are required to maintain the school’s health and safety infrastructure needs on an annual basis (Basic Education Act 2020). Private school toilet facilities must specifically comply with the requirements set by the Ministry of Health and Social Services, including the provision of single-sex toilets.
Profit-making: See Multi-level regulations.
Taxes and subsidies: See Multi-level regulations.
Curriculum and education standards: See Multi-level regulations.
Textbooks and learning materials: Textbooks are developed by private publishing houses, following the curriculum and syllabi developed by the National Institute for Educational Development, with all textbooks required to be approved by the Institute’s curriculum panels. Private schools are required to specify the availability of textbooks and learning materials upon registration. If the school provides the government curriculum, providers must use the learning materials (textbooks, worksheets, writing pads etc.) used in state schools. The government has developed a Textbook Policy 2008 to promote the cost-effective and timely support of good quality, relevant curriculum material to students and teachers and ensure equal access to quality materials for all students.
Teaching profession: See Multi-level regulations.
Corporal punishment: Corporal punishment is prohibited in all schools (state and private), as stipulated in the Basic Education Act 2020 (Art.8) and the Child Care and Protection Act 2015 (Art. 228). The MoEAC published several circulars in 2018 instructing all schools to report any incidents of corporal punishment and submit quarterly reports.
Other safety measures and COVID-19: As schools planned to reopen following the national COVID-19 lockdown in 2020, all private schools were required to put the health and safety of learners as a key priority, by strengthening existing water and sanitation facilities and ensuring that there is sufficient soap (liquid) and taps available for all students. In 2021, the Ministry additionally issued Guidelines for School Operations in accordance with the Public Health COVID-19 General Regulations 2021 and Public and Environment Health Act 2015, which are “applicable to all government and private schools as the regulations represent the law of the country and schools may not deviate from the law”. All state and government-aided schools must additionally adhere to the Child Protection Policy and ensure the safety and well-being of students. The health needs of orphan and vulnerable children must be specifically recognized and addressed in accordance with the Education Sector Policy for Orphans and Vulnerable Children 2008.
Fee-setting: See Multi-level regulations.
Admission selection and processes: See Multi-level regulations.
Policies for vulnerable groups: See Multi-level regulations.
School board: All aided schools are required to have a governing body and a learner's representative council. The governing body must “ensure meaningful parental, community and learner participation in school governance and social accountability” and be comprised of parents, teachers, other staff members, students in grade 7 and above, and any other person with the appropriate expertise and skills.
Reporting requirements: See Multi-level regulations.
School inspection: See Multi-level regulations.
Assessment: Private schools may apply to the Minister for approval to administer examinations delivered by a different examination body. When applying, the schools must provide the credentials of the examining body and proof of regional and international recognition of the certificates issued by the examination body. If the schools take part in national examinations, they must specify to the Minister upon registration which examinations they will take part in.
Diplomas and degrees: The Basic Education Act 2020 established the National Examination, Assessment and Certification Board to issue specific requirements for all schools regarding the issuing of certificates and diplomas, which all private schools will be required to comply with. If the school offers different examinations to state schools, there must be proof of the regional and international recognition of the certificates offered.
Sanctions: See Multi-level regulations.
Tertiary education institutions (TEIs) in Namibia are mainly categorized into state and private (non-state) institutions, the latter of which are independently owned, financed, and operated. While most TEIs are non-state owned and managed (82%), state TEIs have higher levels of student enrolment (71%).
Registration and approval: Any partnership, association or organization planning to establish a private TEI in Namibia is required to make an application for registration to the registrar of higher education (Permanent Secretary) based on the prescribed form in the Regulations for Registration of Private Higher Education Institutions 2009 and accompanied by a N$700 (47.01 USD) registration fee. All applications must provide detailed information on the facilities, teaching staff, programs, and financial capability of the institution. The regulations state that if any false or misleading information is submitted, the applicant will be liable to a fine up to N$2,000 (134.31 USD) and/or imprisonment for 6 months. Private institutions are additionally required to apply for program accreditation at the NCHE, accompanied by the required accreditation fee and self-evaluation report (the application of which is evaluated by the Namibia Qualifications Authority).
License: If the Permanent Secretary finds that the required registration conditions have been met (through consultations with the NCHE and the Namibia Qualifications Authority), the applicant is issued a certificate of registration. Certificates of accreditation are issued by the Director of the NCHE if the required criteria set out in the Regulations for the Accreditation of Persons, Institutions or Organizations 2006 have been met.
Profit-making: Profit-making is not regulated for private TEIs, allowing for the establishment of for-profit entities.
Taxes and subsidies: While the Higher Education Act 2003 includes a separate provision for the “funding of public higher education institutions”, no such provision is included for private institutions (which are established as autonomous entities and receive no funding from the state).
Curriculum and education standards: Private TEIs may only offer programs which have been accredited (based on the NCHE’s quality standards) and approved by the Permanent Secretary, which is included in the institution’s registration certificate. According to the Quality Assurance System for Higher Education in Namibia 2009, the curriculum must be balanced, coherent, and responsive to student and market needs, listing specific requirements for professional and discipline-based programs. Accreditation of new or existing programs remains valid for a maximum of 6 years, after which the program becomes eligible for re-accreditation.
Teaching profession: All academic staff employed in private TEIs must be well-qualified and experienced in their subject area, with specific requirements and qualifications listed for teaching undergraduate and postgraduate courses. The Constitution of 1990 and Higher Education Act 2003 additionally state that private TEIs are strictly prohibited from recruiting academic staff based on race or color, which must be signed in a declaration upon registration.
Fee-setting: While the setting of fees in private TEIs is not directly regulated by the government, private institutions are required to publish a prospectus or brochure each year with information for students and the public on their fees and charges (including any refund in case of application withdrawal) and available student financial aid. The NCHE’s Tuition Fee Portal also allows the public to access information on institution tuition fees, allowing prospective students to compare institutions and programs and make an informed choice. The Tuition Fees Portal allows the public to access information on tuition fees of any public or private HEIs. Prospective students will be able to compare Institutions and programmes to make informed choice.
Admission selection and processes: According to the Constitution of 1990 and Higher Education Act 2003, private TEIs are strictly prohibited from directly or indirectly discriminating on students based on race, color, or creed during the admission process, which must be signed in a declaration upon registration.
Board: Private TEIs are required to provide the names and details of the institution’s owner, chief executive and senior management upon registration, with no specific regulation on the composition of a board or required management structure. According to the Higher Education Act 2003, the NCHE may advise the Minister on the governance of TEIs.
Reporting requirements: All institutions are required to submit annual progress reports and systematic self-evaluations to the NCHE. Private TEIs must additionally maintain detailed records of student admissions, assessment, and academic progress for each program.
Inspection: The NCHE is responsible for monitoring the quality assurance of private TEIs, with an established panel of inquiry which may enter and inspect an institution at any reasonable time and submit a written report to the Minister on findings and recommendations.
Assessment: All private TEIs are required to maintain a detailed assessment policy and procedures, which must be published publicly at least once a year (in addition to rules on assessment, progression, and credit accumulation).
Diplomas and degrees: No information was found.
Sanctions: If any person hinders the investigation, they will be liable to a fine up to N$8,000 (537.26 USD) and/or imprisonment for a period up to two years. If an institution is found to not be complying with the minimum requirements, the owner is required to remedy any defects within 6 months, which if not remedied, the institution may be closed down by the Minister. According to the Higher Education Act 2003, a private TEI may at any time be deregistered if any terms or conditions set in the Act or regulations are contravened.
This section covers regulations for private and aided schools from pre-primary to senior secondary education level.
Registration and approval: According to the Basic Education Act 2020 (Art.76), any "natural person, body corporate, trust, church, or registered welfare organization” that plans to establish a private school from pre-primary to upper secondary level in Namibia is required to apply for registration to the Minister responsible for basic education based on the prescribed form and meet the requirements in the Procedure to Apply for Registration as a Private School Circular 03/2015. The minimum requirements for registration include adequate facilities (accessible to people with physical disabilities), complying with minimum infrastructure standards, qualified staff, student-staff ratio, an inclusive education curriculum, and paying the required fee. Classroom size is only specified for state schools, but private schools must state their classroom size within their application to be approved. Applicants must additionally provide details on what needs their school will provide that are not already met in state schools. The National Examination, Assessment and Certification Board (established under Article 98) is responsible for verifying compliance to the set criteria and submitting a report to the Minister.
License: If satisfied that the school meets the minimum requirements, the Minister issues the applicant a certificate of registration.
Profit-making: While private schools may operate for-profit, aided private schools are required to be non-profit institutions.
Taxes and subsidies: Private schools may apply to the Executive Director of the Ministry to be granted aid from the state (in the form of subsidies and provision of staff and material) if they comply with certain conditions, which include operating as non-profit institutions, having an established school board and learners’ code of conduct, as well as allowing the Minister to regulate student admissions. Schools must additionally prove that they provide an educational service or opportunity to learners that the government cannot adequately provide for, or fails to provide. If any of these conditions are no longer met, the Executive Director may reduce or terminate the aid received.
Curriculum and education standards: Private schools can apply to the Minister for approval of a different language of instruction, curriculum, and examination body. However, the Minister requires a minimum time to be allocated to teaching the official language of Namibia (English) (Basic Education Act 2020). When applying to offer a curriculum that is different from the national curriculum and different language of instruction, private schools must provide a letter of motivation and reasons for the use of a different medium of instruction and curriculum, a full curriculum document, and examples of subject syllabuses.
Teaching profession: All private schools in Namibia are free to employ and dismiss teachers in the school subject to the national Labour Act 2007, except in the case of aided private schools where state schoolteachers have been appointed by the MoEAC (and are subject to certain restrictions). Teachers in state and private schools are regulated separately in the Basic Education Act 2020, which includes provisions for “teachers and teaching in state schools” and “powers of private schools in relation to staff matters”. Only state school teachers are subject to the Public Service Act (which includes provisions on remuneration and appointment, retirement, misconduct, and political rights) and are members of the Teaching Service, while private school teacher working rights are provided for in the labour act. State school teachers are additionally subject to a Professional Code of Conduct. The Basic Education Act 2020 states that any teachers employed in state or private schools must be sufficiently qualified to teach in their subject area (with qualifications checked upon registration). Finally, both the Constitution of 1990 and the Basic Education Act 2020 prohibit private schools from discriminating in the recruitment of staff based on race, ethnic origin, or color.
Fee-setting: Private schools must provide information on all their fees and conditions of payment upon registration, including registration/enrolment fees, tuition fees, hostel fees, examination fees, and fees for textbooks and other learning materials. Schools are not allowed to change their fees without informing the Ministry. State and government-aided schools are subject to additional regulations to ensure more equitable provision in accordance with the Education Sector Policy for Orphans and Vulnerable Children 2008. This includes ensuring that “no child is denied participation in a school related activity due to inability to pay”. Moreover, no full-time student may be excluded from examinations on account of their inability to pay, with all heads of institutions required to provide information about allowable exemptions from the payment of funds and fees, as well as procedures to follow in applying for such exemptions.
Admission selection and processes: The Constitution of 1990 and Basic Education Act 2020 strictly prohibit all private schools from imposing any restrictions of whatever nature in the student admission process based on race, ethnic origin, religion, colour, creed, sex, or socioeconomic status. If any school if found to contravene this provision, they will be liable upon conviction to a fine up to N$20,000 (1,343.14 USD) and/or imprisonment for up to two years. The admissions policy of each private school must be submitted to the Ministry for approval upon registration. In the case of state and aided institutions, no child may be refused admission to a school or denied continued attendance if their parents are unable to pay the School Development Fund contribution or other school related expenses (such as hostel or uniform fees). Moreover, heads of state and aided institutions are required to ensure that “no child is denied admission, continued attendance or participation in school related activities as a result of that child’s status as an orphan or vulnerable child”.
Policies for vulnerable groups: To ensure an inclusive education environment envisioned in the Sector Policy on Inclusive Education 2013, the Basic Education Act 2020 requires all private schools to provide fully accessible facilities in terms of infrastructure and an inclusive and disability-sensitive curriculum. The Act additionally states that students with special needs, orphans, or students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds must be provided with at least one meal per day through the school feeding program. Aided schools (and state schools) must additionally abide with the Education Sector Policy for Orphans and Vulnerable Children 2008, which includes prioritising orphans and vulnerable children in giving students loans in grants, participating in the feeding scheme, ensuring the allocation of accommodation favours vulnerable learners, and providing support for students with learning difficulties. Schools that serve the highest numbers of orphan and vulnerable children are also prioritised for government support. According to the 2008 policy, whereas it strictly applies to state and aided schools, “all schools whether subsidized by Government or not, are morally and ethically obliged to serve the needs of orphan and vulnerable children”.
Reporting requirements: Aided schools are required to apply each year for aid to the Executive Director (which determines whether the school meets the minimum requirements to be granted state assistance) and remain financially accountable to the government for their use of aid. Private schools are required to keep financial records and furnish this information (along with any other relevant information) to the Minister when requested. Moreover, when private schools initially register for operation, a statement of estimated income and expenditure of the school for the first 3 years must be provided.
Inspection: All private schools are subject to inspection and evaluation by a quality assurance officer (at the officer’s own initiative) to determine whether the required standards are maintained. Aided schools are subject to the same inspections and investigations that apply to state schools.
Sanctions: If any person hinders the investigation, they will be liable upon conviction to a fine up to N$20,000 (1,343.14 USD) and/or imprisonment for two years. Moreover, if any certificate or diploma is found to be falsified or tampered with in any way, the school will be liable upon conviction to a fine up to N$40,000 (2,686.29 USD) and/or imprisonment for up to four years. If on the other hand the school is found to not comply with the required standards (or maintains a standard inferior to comparable state schools), the officer requires the owner to comply within 6 months, which if not met, the Minister orders the closure of the school. If the owner of the private school agrees, the Minister may take over the control and management of a closed private school and declare it as a state school. Finally, if any private school is found to not be registered under Article 76 of the Act, the owner will be liable upon conviction to a fine up to N$50,000 and/or imprisonment up to two years.
According to SACMEQ data, private supplementary tutoring appears increasingly prevalent for Grade 6 pupils in Namibia, with an increase from 34% receiving private tutoring lessons in 1995 to 44% in 2000. According to a report in 2007, the practice is additionally evident just before grade 10 and grade 12 examinations. Private tutoring centres are under the MoEAC, registered as part-time tuition centres through a process similar to private schools. The Ministry provides a list of all registered tuition centres on its website.
Private tuition centres are registered under the MoEAC through a similar application process to private schools. Private schools may apply to also have tuition centre status (besides being registered as a school) or choose to only have tuition centre status. There are specific terms and conditions that must be met to be registered as a tuition centre with the Ministry (which is a separate application form to private schools). If these are met, the providers are issued a certificate of registration.
Providers must list the curriculum that will be offered in the tuition centre (which can be the national curriculum or a different curriculum). If offering the national curriculum, the subjects provided must be specified and approved upon registration. Any fees payable in the private tuition centre must also be approved by the Minister.
According to the Basic Education Act 2020, teachers in state schools are prohibited from engaging in “private tuition, private teaching activity, or any other private income generation activities during school-working hours”. There were no regulations found however regarding teachers in private schools or tutoring services offered outside regular working hours. The Code of Conduct for the Teaching Service 2004 additionally states that teachers in state schools may not accept any payment for private tutoring without the required permission.