Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture
The education ministry is requesting a N$13.8 billion budget allocation for the 2021/2022 financial year.
This is 5.1% lower than the previous allocation despite the high allocation by international standards, averaging 20% of the national budget over the past seven years in line with the Dakar threshold, a commitment made by African governments.
The allocation to the operational budget is N$13.4 billion, and N$402.8 million for the development budget.
The allocations per programme are as follows:
- Pre-primary education N$406.4 million
- Primary education N$8.3 billion
- Secondary education N$3.9 billion
- Information, Adult, Lifelong Learning, Arts, and Culture N$448.7 million
- HIV/AIDS Unit N$2.2 million
- Policy coordination and support services N$728.4 million
Notwithstanding the huge allocation to basic education, the ministry has expressed concern over the outcomes, which are not congruent to the level of investment being ploughed into this sector.
For this reason, the ministry has unpacked the cost drivers to figure out mitigating approaches.
Textbooks and material supplies got N$35 million during the previous financial year.
Contrary to that, catering at public school hostels for 2021/2022 amounts to N$582 million for 65'000 learners, or eight percent of the total learner population of 800'000.
The ministry said this in itself shows a gross inequality, which may require parents and guardians to increase their current contributions for the upkeep of their children in hostels. It may also require the establishment of a hostel development fund.
The ministry has started to reclassify hostels to determine hostel feeds and development fund adjustments.
82% of the total budget allocation goes to the ministry's wage bill.
The ministry employs 40% of all public servants. Of these, 26'640 are teaching staff, and 12'102 are unified staff.
The ministry is considering freezing non-critical posts on the unified structure, while the number of posts mainly on the unified structure has been reduced.
Staff reductions have also been done at small and non-economical schools with less than 100 learners in some regions.
Expenditure on utilities has also been cut with the installation of pre-paid water and electricity metres.
To cut costs on construction work, the ministry is now working on a pro bono basis with Direct Design Lab (DDL) through its Friends of Education Namibia Special Initiative (FENSI) to develop an accelerated infrastructure plan to serve as a blueprint for all future construction projects.
With a huge repetition (125'000 learners in one year) and drop-out (32'000) rates, the ministry has calculated a loss of close to N$2 billion of investment per year.
THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC
Last year learners lost half of their school year out of 198 days due to the outbreak of the Covid-19 outbreak.
In response, the ministry has developed a resilience plan for 2021 to 2023, which focuses on learning outcomes.
This plan includes interventions such as the streamlining and rationalising of curricula, the use of cohort systems, shifts or alternate days for school attendance, the introduction of blended learning (using both on-line and face-to-face teaching), distribution of learning materials through the media, and a downward revision of promotion requirements.
There was also an N$800 million allocation for Covid-19 infrastructure development.