'I am here. I am back with a bang - Dr Abraham Iyambo
By Ashok Iyor
My brothers and sisters, this is Abraham Iyambo. I am here. I am back with a bang! I feel new and refreshed! I am not accustomed to being away from work for any period of time. So, you can imagine how difficult it was for me to stay away for an extended period of time.
I am deeply indebted to His
Hifikepunye Pohamba, the
Founding President, Dr. Sam
Nujoma, to my colleagues,
members of Cabinet and Parliament
and in particular to my
Deputy Minister, Dr. David
Namwandi. I am also particularly
grateful to all of you in the
Ministry who maintained and
continued building on the solid
foundation we have been building
It is indeed a feeling of great
pleasure to be reunited with the
educational family and fraternity
after a long period of absence.
In order to get up to
speed with activities of. the Ministry, I intend to spend the
next few days in intensive report-
back meetings with staff of
the Ministry of Education based
at the Headquarters in
Windhoek. My intention is also
directed to all our partners in
I am meeting with you first
today to show my respect and
appreciation for the hard work
to date, but also to assess
progress of our common ideal
of providing quality education.
In relation to my health, I feel
that my health is a private issue.
I was, however overwhelmed
and humbled by the
outpour of concern. I also feel
that as a political office bearer
in charge of a Ministry which
receives one of the largest budget
allocation, it is not just about
It is everybody's concern. I
understand that. I would thus
like to clarify my health position.
I am a human like you with
flesh, blood and bones. I am not
immune to sickness.
What happened is that my
blood pressure went uncontrollably
high and placed my body
under severe strain.
The blood pressure temporarily
affected my vision and
speech. Extended rest and immediate
adoption of healthy living
was the only solution. After
extensive medical analyses
of all kinds, my doctors have
given me a bill of good-health.
The extended leave left me
torn between my health and my
responsibilities to the country.
While I was initially frustrated,
I now understand and respect
that it was necessary. I am grate ful for all your prayers and well
wishes. The silver lining is that
through this important life lesson,
I learned a premium lesson.
At some point in any human
being's life, the power
above chooses it necessary to remind us of His presence.
During my leave, I was
forced into a moment of pause
and into deep reflection. This
was my chance to reboot my
computer. I now have renewed
energy and a fresh perspective.
I have emerged stronger, wiser,
healthier and more determined
to make a meaningful contribution
to this beautiful country.
I am back with a bang.
My health scare is in the past.
The doctors did their part and
gave me the treatment that I
needed. My current dream is to
share all these experiences,
painful as they may be, through
a book. I trust that I will be able
to convey this story to you as
an educational pursuit in cautionary
May I be clear that I am
publically talking about a private
matter. This is not only
because of my duties and responsibilities
as a public office
bearer, but also as a human being
hoping that others will learn
from my lesson.
A question in the mind of
many is possibly "will Dr.
Iyambo ever get sick
again?"According to the 2008
WHO estimates, raised blood
pressure affects 46% of Africans.
In Namibia, 43.4% of our
population suffers from raised
blood pressure. I therefore,
speak on behalf of 46% Africans
and 43.4% Namibians
who suffer from raised blood
pressure that we should not be
We can do any type of work
under any environment. What
is expected is simply to control
and treat blood pressure and to adhere to certain principles and
lifestyles. Raised blood pressure
is caused by many factors
such as eating too much salt,
being overweight, not getting
enough physical exercise, hereditary
disposition and stressful
High blood pressure can
however be treated or controlled
through various means
but is primarily dependant on
lifestyle changes like maintaining
a healthy diet reduced intake
of salted food and saturated
fat, maintaining a healthy
weight, exercise, minimal alcohol
consumption, regular check
of blood pressure and medication
etc. While it can be potentially
fatal if not managed, it is
not a terminal illness.
To answer the hypothetical
question of whether I will get
sick again to the point it materially
affects my ability to perform
my duties, now or in the
future. The short answer is this:
My Doctors say no, as long as
I maintain a healthy lifestyle. I
also say no as I am committed
to lead a balanced, healthy
The reality however is that
the health of everybody, rich or
poor, young or old, belongs in
the hands of the Almighty. My
future is in His hands. Next time
you ask me if I will fall sick
again, I will tell you to ask my
manufacturer above! As you
can hear, I have renewed speech
and vigor. I cannot say it loud
enough that when I was in hospital,
my people, I missed you.
I thought so much about the
children and teachers, managers,
our education system, policies
and strategies we have to
I am thankful to so many
people that it would be impossible
to name them all today.
The future.. a
call to believe in
ourselves and succeed
During my "reboot" period,
I became a prolific athlete! Although
not going to the Olympics
(yet..) I challenge all of you
at the Ministry to race 100 meter
with me. I have altered my diet
nowadays I eat only healthy
food and rest well.
In the 13 Regions, it is now
hard work, honesty and dedication.
I am well rested, had
ample time to reflect in detail
about the running of our education,
the future of Namibia
and what is to be done to succeed.
I believe in the ability and
potential of Namibia and each
one of you - you are valuable
assets. Education is our joint
It is formidable
bedrock upon which our nation
is hinged. Our success is in our
I believe that men and
women at the Ministry of Education
will succeed, will deliver
and win. We will as a team succeed
because of our collective
passion to guarantee the future
of the Namibian child and all
its inhabitants. I believe in our
collective wisdom, solid commitment,
diligence and "can
Yes, I believe in our teachers,
inspectors, principals, directors
in the towns and villages
of Namibia. My prayer and call
is for the nation to repose respect,
dignity, care and love on
the educators. I implore the
whole nation to hold hands as
we refocus, reshape, re-orient
and strengthen our education.
Quality must be asserted.
I reassure teachers and lecturers
that with them, Namibia's
torch is brighter. I am proud to
be leading such a formidable
team, with collective destiny,
and decisiveness. At this moment
I demand work ethics, integrity,
productivity and willingness
to deliver quality ededucation.
I believe in the learners,
students, lecturers, managers,
labourers at all of our institutions
of learning in the length
and breadth of the Republic of
Namibia. Yes, I believe that we
must all sacrifice, be results oriented
and be willing to go an
It is a tremendous responsibility
but we can do it together.
Let's be an inspired team, exemplary role models ready to
get our hands dirty. I believe in
you, irrespective of the numerous
challenges and obstacles.
Believe in yourself, unleash the
Allow respect and discipline
to permeate and flourish in our
children. Let our Ministry and Institutions linked to it be well
run with intense supervision
and leadership. Let us be on
track and do our work according
to design and on time.
Let us relook at our foundations,
character and priorities.
Let our learners and students
have positive energy, self confidence,
creativity and determination.
Let morality prevail at
all our institutions of learning.
Most importantly, let us arm
ourselves with the right armour
.... healthy bodies. Jeremiah
29:11 says, "The plans that I
have for you is plans to prosper
and to be in good health." This
is the master plan of the manufacturer,
let us implement it so
we prosper and our country
Starting from today, 2nd July
2012, I will be receiving extensive
briefings from the Hon.
Deputy Minister, Permanent
Secretary, Deputy Permanent
Secretary, Under Secretaries,
Directors and their Deputies
and other colleagues in position
of responsibility. I have also
asked to meet a number of our
stakeholders such as NANTU,
NANSO, TUN, NIED,
UNAM, IUM, Polytechnic,
NTA, NQA, NCHE,
NAMCOL, Research, Science
and Technology (RST) and our
While I was in hospital, I
gave a lot of directives to my
Deputy Minister and management
with issues to be implemented.
I would therefore like
to receive briefing on the following
1. Implementation status of
all the Resolutions emanating
from the National Conference
on Education that took place
from 27 June - 1 July 2011.
Cabinet has subsequently given
directives on short term priorities
from 2012/13 to be fully
implemented. We should take
the implementation of the Cabinet
Decision very seriously and
adhere without fail...
1 .1 One of the noticeable
directive is that we must adhere
to the Constitutional provision,
Article 20 Section (2) that reads:
"Primary education shall be
compulsory and the State shall
provide reasonable facilities to
render effective this right for
every resident within Namibia,
by establishing and maintaining
State schools at which primary
education will be provided
free of charge". I will receive
full briefing on the latest
development on the implementation
plan towards Free Primary
1.2 Reviewing of Education
Act - How far have we gone?
1 .3 Prevention and Management
of learner pregnancy and
shebeens near schools - have
we received feedback from the
Law Reform and Development
1 .4 Decentralisation and deconcentration
in the Education sector and structure of the Ministry
of Education - are we on
1 .5 Consultation and
finalisation of Basic Education
Curriculum Reform - how far
1.6 Finalisation of the
Ministry's Strategic Plan -
When will it be
1 .7 Expansion of school
feeding program; teachers'
housing; hostels; expansion of
schools building; laboratories
and libraries. Are these reflected
in the budget?
1.8 Procurement of text
books - Our strategy is that by
the end of 2013 Namibian children
should not share textbooks.
This is to be achieved
through the procurement of
textbooks with funds from
Namibian Government and
MCA. What progress have we
1.9 Automatic promotion, how far is the review of this
1 .1 0 Internships/Job attachment
for students at national
and foreign institutions. What
are the latest developments?
1 .11 Re-arrangement capital
budget and budget implementation
and revision of the
levels of capital and recurrent
budgets - of the N$9.4 billion
only budget 6% is for capital
2. Implementation of MCA
funds for Education. Are we spending the money as allocated
to improve the quality of
teaching and learning?
3. Planning and Financial
control/management- Have these been attended to?
4. Education for All and Millennium
Development Goals -
How far has Namibia advanced
in the implementation of these
5. Reform of Higher Education;
expansion of Higher Education
institutions and make
higher education affordable -
UNAM and Polytechnic as per
directives of the Cabinet. I will
be briefed on the latest development.
6. English proficiency programme - how far has the
CPD unit advanced in the
7. Training of teachers at
UNAM - Is the survey conducted to determine the demand
and supply of teachers for
the next three years, especially
in the area of Pre-primary;
Lower primary and African
Languages? What is the current
8. Education input and output
and the need for the
achievement of Vision 2030 -
will we through Education
meet Vision 2030?
9. Efficiency and effectiveness
of Namibia Students Financial
Assistant Fund. Is it effective
and how are we addressing
10. Situation of street kids,
orphans, yulnerable children,
children living with disabilities
- Are all Namibian children accessing
schools in line with the
11. Readiness for Grade 10
and 12 for 2012 Examinations
have preparations started? Are
learners ready? We must be
12. Vocational Training Centres
(VTC) - Its quality must be
strengthened and expansion is
needed to accommodate more
graduates from Secondary
13. VTC subjects/curriculum
- How far is the transformation
14. Introduction of the Training
levy - How far is the work
15. ETSIP - What is the level
of implementation of ETSIP 1
and preparation for ETSIP 2?
16. NAMCOL - Teachers
recruitment and expansion of
NAMCOL centres - has this
been attended to?
17. Information and Communication
Technology - ICT
education at all schools - are we
heeding the call of His Excellency
the President? To what
extend are we implementing conthe
curriculum in this aspect?
18. Maintenance and renovation
of schools - have we
prioritised this item?
19. Events at tertiary institutions
- what have the investigations
revealed and the way forward?
20. National Library and
Community Libraries. Are they
functioning and serving the
needs of our clients?
21. Transport for students at
Tertiary Institutions; How far is
the discussion with City of
22. Research, Science and
Innovation - Has the work on
these commenced in earnest?
23. TIPEEG Projects: To
what extend is the Ministry of
Education benefiting from this
Once I have received all
these briefings, we will be
working together. I need your
commitment and passion, and
this we do for the sake of the
Namibian child and the future
of our country.