The Case of SchoolNet Namibia/SchoolNet/Policy
On account of its success in terms of ICT4D, SchoolNet was highly instrumental in driving policy changes viz-a-viz ICT development in Namibia and was indentified as a lead organisation in the government's National Development Plan Phase II (2000 – 2005). The SchoolNet Namibia experience shows that successful implementation can be achieved with wide support from individuals, public and private organizations. This was achieved without the existence of national policy. SchoolNet was free to create alliances with a large number of partners within and outside of government.
The internet community (ISPs, computer companies, Telecom Namibia, Nampower) all supported SchoolNet as a way to expand internet use in the country, some of them keenly realising the commercial opportunities at the end of the road. Both the National Development Plan Phase II and the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Policy for the Republic of Namibia recognise SchoolNet Namibia as a key mechanism in the roll-out of ICT in education and job-creation.
Pertinently, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Information and Broadcasting established a national coordinating body for ICT, the Resource Network Group (RNG), and charged it with the responsibility of tabling an ICT Policy in 2001. SchoolNet Namibia has been an active member of the RNG. The ICT Policy recognised SchoolNet as one of several projects already under way that could deliver educational material, enable e-commerce and provide access to government information to rural communities.
An important recommendation of the policy was that these and any new programmes be conducted in an open and transparent fashion to avoid wasting resources and ensure maximum synergy. The ICT Policy further recommends that in order to facilitate excellent ICT public education, especially in schools, the government of Namibia should recognise ICT qualifications as a key factor in the promotion of teachers and continue to support schools connectivity through strong initiatives such as SchoolNet.