Education least funded in terms of capital projects
The Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture hosted a seminar with the aim to inform the nation on the success and challenges of the Ministry.
The seminar took place at the Windhoek Country Club on 9 November and in a statement at the event the Minister of Education arts and Culture, Hon. Katrina Hanse-Himarwa said, “The Education ministry is one of the largest in terms of the scope, thus it will never be easy to give you all information about what we do, how we do it and why we fail or succeed and how we address our challenges but the Ministry will be open as much as possible. Our President is an advocate of transparency and that is one of the reasons the Ministry held the seminar”.
The minister shed light on information concerning the budget on the financial resources allocated to the ministry’s various programmes.
“Despite the increase in the budget allocation over the years, a large portion of the allocation has consistently been apportioned towards the payment of operational expenditures which are mainly staff related. The personnel related expenditure like staff remuneration, GIPF, Other Conditions of Service for the financial years. The payment of staff expenditures made up an average of 64% of the total allocated budget to the Ministry, impacting negatively on the implementation of Ministerial capital projects,” she said.
However, according to her the budget allocation towards Capital expenditures only makes up 6% of the total budget allocation for the 2015/16 financial year, a trend that has been observed in the past financial years. Whereby the proportion of the Development budget allocation towards the total Ministerial budget was only 3%; 5%; 5% and 6% for the 2012/13 to 2015/16 financial years respectively therefore, making the ministry one of the least funded ministries in terms of capital projects.
“The above allocation impedes the development of critical infrastructure such as construction of schools and school hostels, classrooms, libraries as well as sanitation facilities,” she added.
Hanse-Himarwa said, that “Education is everybody’s business and it is important that we all as a nation realise that. And the sooner we realise that education is a collective responsibility, the faster we move in the same direction of success and prosperity. I want all of us to be overly concerned about how we can move Education, Arts and Culture forward”.
The minister said, “The future increase in the budget allocations towards infrastructure development is therefore critical to ease the burden on the existing infrastructure as well as construct new ones to address the demand due to increase in the number of learners resulting from the implementation of the Fee Free Primary and Secondary Education. An increase in the Operational budget allocation for staff related expenditures is also vital to address the overspending which has been a yearly occurrence for the past two financial years. The implementation of yearly Payroll Audits (Payroll verifications) will however ensure the correctness of the wage bill”.
Meanwhile, Hanse-Himarwa thanked all institutions and individuals who continue to support the course of the ministry.
“We all know that education is not an event but rather a lifelong process that requires the continued participation of all. It is therefore our hope and expectations that with your continued involvement in the process of education, we should as a collective be able to achieve our goal to educate and train the Namibian child and equip them to be masters of their destiny,” Hanse-Himarwa said.