Project Highlights
Improving Primary Schools
Basic Education I & II Projects
Monitoring Primary Schools
Namibia Basic Education Support II (BES) Project

1999 to 2004
$8.5 million

Chief of Party
Home Office Project Coordinator
David Benedetti
[email protected]

Ken Rhodes
[email protected]


This project will provide technical assistance to the Government of Namibia in support of Phase II of the Basic Education Support (BES) project. The Namibia BES II project supports the strengthening of instructional and educational management systems and the developing of Namibian capacity to manage these systems on a sustained basis, focusing on lower primary grades 1-4. Ultimately, the involvement of each community in the larger context of school management will result in sustainable improvements in instructional quality. The project focuses on three major results:

Improving the quality of classroom instruction using learner-centered education and continuous assessment methods
Improving the quality of school management through technical assistance and training to principals and their supervisors circuit inspectors
Involving parents and communities in improving their schools

The project has facilitated the designing of a system that Namibian stakeholders will create and own, as the path to sustainability lies in locally generated demands and solutions. The project has approached the sustainability challenge through a multi-tiered structure of interlocking, mutually reinforcing activities, each of which addresses an element of sustainability. The first element of the strategy has been to build the capacity of Circuit Support Teams (CSTs) from the Ministry ( made up of Circuit Inspector, Advisory Teacher and Resource Teacher) to work with school staff and parents on in-service training for teachers and principals and school improvement planning. The second element has been to build the capacity at the cluster (4-5 schools) and individual school levels to manage local training and school improvement planning with minimal support from the CST’s. Finally, also at the individual school level, the project has created a participatory process whereby teachers, parents, and other community members are empowered to participate in the educational system.

The project has successfully developed a process through which teachers and schools carry out self assessments to monitor their progress in improving school performance in a wide range of areas. Circuit Inspectors and Advisory Teachers carry out their own assessments and then can work with schools and teachers to plan out focused training based on what everyone agrees are real, felt needs based on the data from the assessments. The Self Assessment system also gives the Ministry a method, apart from testing student achievement, to measure how well schools are doing in improving teaching and learning. Finally, the project has also worked with a local NGO, the Rossing Foundation, to develop a system of small grants that enables schools to fund some of the activities they design into their school improvement plans.

Over the past three years the project has expanded to cover over 250 schools in 22 circuits in the four northern regions. More importantly, the Circuit Support Teams now have the capacity to expand innovations to the other 500 plus schools in the north that have been touched by the project even after the project ends. The project is working closely with the Ministry on reinforcing all of the mechanisms that will help sustain the project’s method of working with teachers and schools after the project ends in September 2004.

The project has five major target areas focused on improving instructional programs at the classroom level. The first three—teaching practices, learner-centered curricula, and school-based learner assessment— address distinct technical areas through a common framework of activities. The activities in targets four and five—improved management and community participation—provide fundamental support and community support and involvement, and information-based policy implementation.

The point of strategic intervention for the project team technical advisors is at the regional level, working with and through the Namibian resources that reach into the schools and communities.

Other AED Projects in Namibia
Global Communications and Learning Systems (LEARNLINK Project), USAID, 1996 to 2003
dot-EDU: Initiative for Namibian Education Technology (iNET), USAID and Education Development Center, Inc., 2003 to 2005