The Importance of Financing Lifelong Learning to Enhance Human Capital in Namibia

Lisa R. Parker

Lifelong learning previous known as Adult Education is important for additional training on economic growth and income distribution that should receive priority as previously acquired knowledge may no longer be applicable in the modern age. Financing of lifelong learning will bring great benefits of increasing the citizen’s accumulation of human capital; in view of economic growth increasing knowledge ability is essential for any country that cannot be competitive without applying knowledge. Education is central to strengthening the human capital base which supports the pillars related to skills building and innovation systems.

The difficulties we are facing in Namibia is to meet the challenges of the knowledge society the insufficient funding of higher education, insufficient educational strategies for marginalized groups, lack of schools in remote areas, and a gap in the relationship between educational institutions and communities. A comprehensive program of lifelong learning education for economies should include all levels: early childhood development, primary, secondary, tertiary, and adult continuing education within the overall development of the country. There is also a need for cost sharing between the government, individuals, families, and employers, to create a fair, affordable, and sustainable financing to Lifelong Learning.

The source of funding for Lifelong learning will come from employers who are benefiting from employees who graduated and received knowledge from educational institutions. Therefore employers will only cover the cost of education and training if the staff member requires particular skills for certain jobs. Private entities like Non-Governmental Organisation (NGOs) provide grants and are directed to students which are in direct need of financial assistance, this is usually limited and they will never be in a position to provide funding for everyone especially with the increasing demand for higher education.

The responsibility of the students financing their own education is very prominent in Namibia meaning the student is having the knowledge to themselves and have the financial stability to pay for best educational institutions they can afford. The private sector in most cases lack funds for education making it a pre-requisite for the government to help out Namibian Students Financial Assistance Fund (NSFAF) these loans in most cases needed to be payback in order for the fund to be sustainable, the majority of the grant holders are in the teaching, nursing, and medical fields. However, current budgetary constraints do not allow the government to meet the increased demands for higher and continuing education.

Financing lifelong long learning should be aimed at making education accessible to all meaning inclusive education. To have a proper financing system in place tremendous benefits can be achieved, this will contribute by creating a better-equipped workforce, by encouraging people to view lifelong learning as a skills enhancement model, with greater control over their personal development and to further increase levels of participation and achievement in communities particularly from marginalized groups, women inequalities and younger workers with low skills. This will enhance the development of wider choice and innovation in the delivery of training.

Policies should be in place in order to recognize that lifelong learning contributes for inclusive growth those affected by unemployment, restructuring and career changes, as well as making an important contribution to social inclusion, active citizenship, and personal development. Participation in learning is crucial as it has a positive impact on wider social benefits such as healthier living, reduced community tension and increased feelings of well-being. Investment in lifelong learning infrastructure has the additional benefit of stimulating sustainable growth.

The Directorate of Adult Education at the Ministry should incorporation with public financing agencies solicit for more donors and encourage them to allocate adequate funds so that operations on programs can run smoothly and by so doing enhancing enrolment. It is necessary for the government to allocate more funds in order to conduct lifelong learning campaigns through advertisements in the media as to sensitize members of the public on the crucial role of lifelong learning to individuals and national development. Lifelong Learning financing agencies should provide funds directly to institutions rather than materials in order to ensure that individual needs and interests are looked after.

Finally, Lifelong learning including all sorts of training and re-training do have a vital role to play when it comes to employability and active citizenship. Strong working relations should be encouraged between schools, universities, private and Vocational Education institution. This is of importance that more investments are needed in people their education, employers, and learners themselves. Innovative mechanisms when it comes to student funding should be properly analyzed and evaluated.

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