Population: 1.991 million 2006)
GDP per capita: US$3,242 (2006)
Human Development Index (HDI): 0.650
Unemployment Levels: 5.2% (2007 est.)
Key Economic Sectors: Mining and Agriculture, Industry and Tourism
Principal Exports: Granite Slabs, Tiles, Natural Health Products
HIV & AIDS Prevalence: 15.32% (2007 est.)
Gross Primary Enrolment Ratio: 107 (2006)
Gross Secondary Enrolment Ratio: 57 (2006)
Gross Tertiary Enrolment Ratio: 6 (2006)

 Source: Country context data was obtained from a variety of sources: (CIA, 2008; SADC, 2008; UNAIDS, 2008; UNDP, 2008; UNESCO Institute for Statistics, 2006)


Historical Background

THIS LARGE and beautiful country, which contains the world’s oldest desert, the Namib, is also one of the world’s most sparcely populated. In fact, it is second only to Mongolia, with a population density of less than three persons per square kilometre. In spite of this scarcity of human settlement over large tracts, Namibia is home to an extraordinary ethnic diversity...Read more.

National Education System Overview

The Namibian general education sector follows a 7-3-2 system comprising primary, junior secondary and senior secondary education, respectively. For a few children, primary education is preceded by two to three years of pre-primary education. However, early childhood development (ECD) and pre-primary programmes do not form an integral part of public education provision.

It is compulsory to attend ten years of schooling (World Bank Ed Stats, No date-c). Namibia’s constitution makes provision for free, compulsory Basic Education from Grade 1 to Grade 10 or 16 years of age, whichever comes first (Clegg & Van Graan, 2006).

There is one state university, the University of Namibia.

Type of Higher Education Institutions     

Number of Institutions

Publicly funded universities 1
Publicly funded HE Institutions and Colleges 2
Privately funded HE Institutions   2

Source: Namibia TEC questionnaire and interview response

Policy Context

The Ministry of Education has developed a fifteen year strategic plan (2005/6 – 2020), namely the Education and Training Sector Improvement Programme (ETSIP), which is a comprehensive reformation of the education and training sector. As part of its ETSIP, the Namibian MoE has outlined the following strategic objectives:

Strengthen institutional capacity of tertiary education;
Enhance relevance and responsiveness of tertiary education;
Improve the quality and effectiveness of tertiary education and training system;
Improve equitable access to higher education and lifelong learning; and
Mobilize financial resources and use them efficiently.(Republic of Namibia Ministry of Education).


Higher Education Legislation

Brief Description

The Higher Education Act, establishing the National Council for Higher Education (NCHE) Provides mechanisms for making tertiary institutions more directly responsive to national needs.
The Teacher’s Education Colleges Act Allows colleges a greater degree of professional and managerial autonomy
The Research, Science, and Technology Act Provides mechanisms for stimulating and supporting research activities in all institutions and also for linking research to development

List of Statutory Bodies in the Higher Education Sector

Statutory Bodies   

 Brief description        

National Council for Higher Education                            

The objectives for the council are to advise the Minister of Education on policies both on the Minister’s demand and on its own accord in questions regarding:

A coordinated system of tertiary education;
Access with equity to tertiary education;
Quality assurance in tertiary education; and
Allocation of funds to public tertiary education.


Advisory Council on Teacher Education and Training (ACTET) The function of ACTET is to advise the MoE on policies, directions and standards for teacher education, as well as the governance and funding of colleges of education.


Funding Data

Public Expenditure on Education as a % of Gross National Income (GNI) 7.9%
% Education budget allocated to higher education 15% (2005/6)
Loan/Grant scheme in place Yes

Source: SARUA (2008) – Pillay report

Science and Technology

Key Indicators


R&D Intensity [The ratio of Gross expenditure on R&D (GERD) to Gross Domestic Product (GDP)] Not  availabale        
ISI Output (Number of papers published in the 7500+ journals of the ISI Web of Science)           1990-1995: 197
1996-2001: 275
2002-2007: 423

Source: SARUA (2008) – CREST Report