WINDHOEK- Government, through the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture, will utilise a total amount of N$746 million - of the N$1 billion loan the African Development Bank (AfDB) advanced to Namibia - to upgrade, renovate and construct education physical facilities. They money will also be used to strengthen monitoring of ongoing capital projects. Education, Arts and Culture Minister Katrina Hanse-Himarwa revealed this last week when she presented the ministry’s total budget allocation of N$13.8 billion for the 2019/20 financial year.
When compared to the N$13.2 billion allocation in the 2018/19 financial year, this allocation translates to an overall increase of four percent, which the minister says is below the inflation rate.
Hundreds of learners, especially in rural Namibian schools still have to endure the discomfort of sitting on the floor for their lessons in various classrooms and grades, because the schools whose classes are also overcrowded does not have sufficient classroom desks.
Equally, teachers at the poorly resourced public schools are also said not to have offices and they use classrooms when students are not in attendance to convene staff and other meetings.
The upgrading and construction of education physical facilities falls under the policy coordination and support services within the ministry which only received N$205.9 million.
The programme aims to enable the provision of overall policy formulation, coordination, planning, management and financial administration at head office and to steer the execution of the ministerial mandate.
Last year, government, through the Ministry of Finance, already received half of the N$10 billion loan of which N$3 billion was used to fund last year’s budget deficit and N$2 billion was utilised for educational and agricultural development project.
AfDB has approved the second tranche budget support loan of N$3 billion for Namibia. The total loan package consists of N$10 billion of which N$6 billion is budget support (2017/18 and 2018/19) and N$4 billion project financing over a five-year period. Government applied for the loan at the beginning of 2017.
Hanse-Himarwa noted the provision of physical education facilities particularly, additional classrooms and new schools remain a challenge for various reasons.
“The regular maintenance or upkeep of existing infrastructure still compounds our education business,” she said.
Further, she stated that the allocation for 2019/20 financial year, fully covers personnel expenditures and the universal grants to schools.
However, she said major cost drivers of the ministry, such as government school hostel food provision, Namibia school feeding programmes, utilities, stationery and cleaning materials are funded only by 50 percent.
Therefore, she presented that these are all critical and essential enablers and prerequires for quality education provision and attainment.
“It is for this very reason why it should not be deemed pre-mature for this ministry to request to be considered for additional budgetary allocation during the mid-year budget review to ensure continuity of its key operations,” she requested.
2019-05-07 08:43:27 | 6 months ago