Policy and Programs Program and Sector policy
Policy and Programs

National Institute for Education Development (NIED)

While collecting information for this global distance education network, SAIDE held several interviews with organisations in Southern African countries. Impressions of each country were generated to give some introduction to distance education and technology use in the area. Each interview has also been written up separately as a case study.

SAIDE country visits conducted in 1999

Permission granted

Contact details

Contact Person: Mr Gert W Fourie
Position: Chief Education Officer
E-mail: nied@emis.mec.gov.na
Fax: 09264 621 502 613
Tel: 09264 621 502 446
Website: www.nied.edu.na
Postal Address Private Bag 2034


When Namibia gained independence in 1990, one of its biggest challenges was to build a new educational system where quality education for all is the cornerstone. There was a need for education relevant to Namibia, adaptable to the changing needs of Namibian society, and determined by Namibians themselves.

The National Institute for Educational Development (NIED) was established in 1990 as the department within the Ministry of Basic Education and Culture with the continuous task of ensuring that education in Namibia is developed and improved in accordance with the latest development in education and the needs of the people of Namibia.

Mission Statement

NIED is a national resource for mobilizing both human and physical resources in improving the quality and relevance of education through innovative curriculum and materials development, and research in education and training, and by linking the Ministry of Basic Education and Culture (MBEC) to the local community and Namibia to the international community in these fields.

NIED’s Structure

NIED is headed by a Director, and has two main divisions. One division is Curriculum Research and Development. It is responsible for developing the curriculum and the assessment system, and new syllabuses for individual subjects. New subjects emerge to meet new needs, and existing subjects must be adapted to new circumstances, new knowledge, and new approaches. Curriculum materials are revised on an ongoing basis to meet new needs. The other division is the Professional and Resource Development, which is responsible for two major areas of education: improving the knowledge and skills of the teaching profession and educational managers and conducting educational research.

Areas of Focus

NIED is responsible for evaluating, designing, and developing curricula for the educational system, introducing effective approaches to teaching and learning, coordinating the development of instructional materials, educational research, preparing and coordinating an effective system of pre-service and in-service teaching education, and providing training in educational management.

Languages Development

The introduction of English as the medium of instruction for Grades 4 to 12 requires new approaches and materials to prepare teachers and learners for the new medium. Namibia is a country rich in languages, but their development has been unequal. The language subdivisions will ensure that syllabuses and teaching materials are available for all languages and relevant to the needs of learners.

Pre-Service Teacher Education

The development of pre-service teacher education is done in cooperation with the colleges of education and the university. NIED initiates the development of new curricula, brings in resource persons to support reforms and ensures input and feedback from the school system.

In-Service Teacher Education

The new curricula for pre-service teacher education also apply to the in-service training of teachers. This division is being established, and will give guidance to teachers’ resource centres at regional, district, and local level. These resource centres will give in-service training and support to teachers in the everyday school situation.


Research is essential to the development of education, and research specialists are attached to this division. They investigate various aspects of the process of educational development and innovation, so that curricula, materials, teaching, and management are continually improved.

Resource Centre

The professional and resource development division administers a well-stocked resource centre. It is a resource for NIED staff, regional resource centres and the Ministry as a whole.

How NIED Works

NIED has an active involvement in education in the country through networks and partnerships with teachers, schools, resource centres, environmental education centres, other parts of the MBEC, and the regional offices. NIED also links up with top national resources in education, such as the colleges of education, the university, and the polytechnic. Other linkages include ministries, non-governmental organizations, unions, employers, and more. NIED is also part of several international networks for educational research and development

Nationwide Networks

One of the most important networks is the system of curriculum panels for school subjects. These panels are nationally representative, and consist of teachers from schools and colleges, the university, advisory teachers, and others.

Several important networks link up the division for Professional and Resource Development with the colleges of education, and with teachers’ resource centres and Regional Offices, for in-service teacher education.

Wide Participation

When innovations are planned and implemented, representative working groups are set up, and draft documents are sent out for discussion. It is a fundamental working principle of NIED that changes are made on the basis of wide participation and involvement. The process of change must be democratic.

Local And International Contact

NIED is both a driving force in the reform and renewal of education in Namibia, and keeps its finger on the pulse of change in the nation and internationally. Its programmes are currently supported by Namibian and international organizations such as Namdeb, EU, FINNIDA, Ibis (WUS Denmark), ABSO, Peace Corps, NAMAS, NORAD, DifID, Sida, GTZ, UNDP, UNESCO, UNICEF, USAID, and UNFPA

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