Education, Arts and Culture Ministry has many gaps to address

07 Apr 2015 13:50pm
WINDHOEK, 07 APR (NAMPA) - Despite progress made over the years, the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture still has many gaps to address, particularly gender gaps in relation to high dropouts and repetition rates of learners in senior grades.
According to the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) for the period 2015/16 to 2017/18 issued by the Ministry of Finance last Tuesday, challenges in the education system include negative cultural practices, limited participation of men in the national literacy programmes, low proportion of women in vocational education and inadequate support to teenage pregnancies.
It added that other main challenges and constraints encountered by that ministry in spite of completed strategic activities include the lack of skills in the fields of museums and arts and culture, particularly arts in schools, which are not being practiced as promotional subjects and which hampers the development of arts in Namibia.
On ministerial targets, that ministry wants to increase the number of children, particularly orphans and vulnerable children and children with disabilities who enter primary education with one successfully completed year of pre-primary education from 25 894 in 2013 to 45 000 in 2017/18.
According to Government’s Accountability Report for the 2013/14 financial year, the number of children who entered the primary education system with one year of pre-primary education actually exceeded the target of 22 000 and increased to 25 894 in 2014/15.
The MTEF also targets to increase net enrolment at secondary education, from Grade eight to 12 for 14 to 18-year-olds, from 59.7 per cent in 2013/14 to 68.0 per cent in 2017/18.
The 2013/14 Accountability Report states: “The Ministry remains committed to creating a conducive environment for teaching and learning outcomes. The target was met by expanding access through the construction of 96 additional classrooms at existing schools, as well as renovations and the construction of prefabricated structures.”
Other targets include an increase in the percentage of learners achieving D or better in Mathematics, Science and English in Grade 10 from 45.5 per cent, 52.7 per cent and 41.4 per cent respectively in 2013/14 to 45.9 per cent, to 53.1 per cent and 41.8 per cent in 2017/18. According to the 2013/14 Accountability Report, “The target for Mathematics was beaten by 2.3 percentage points, while Sciences exceeded its target by 2.1 percentage points. This can be attributed to the fact that both are content subjects, which have received a boost from the investment in textbooks over the past three years.” Teachers’ unions have however challenged the focus on improvement in English, hence the delay in implementation of efforts.
In Grade 12, the education ministry targets to increase learners achieving D or better in the said subjects from 42.7 per cent, 47.0 per cent and 36.6 per cent in 2013/2014 to 44.0 per cent, 49.0 per cent and 38.0 per cent in 2017/18. According to the accountability report for 2013/14, “The targets for Mathematics and Sciences [in Grade 12] were not met. Meanwhile, the performance in English has improved, compared to the previous year, but did also not meet the target.”
Concerning adult literacy, the ministry further targets to increase adult literacy from 92.3 per cent in 2013/14 to 95.0 per cent by 2017/18,while increasing the percentage of community libraries providing public information and communication technology access to communities from 75.0 per cent in 2013/14 to 100 per cent by 2017/18. The number of public libraries is also targeted to increase from 48 in 2013/14 to 90 in 2017/18. During 2013/14, the education ministry did not achieve the target of 52 public libraries because of delays in renovation in the regions caused by “some bill of quantities being questionably high, and thus investigations to confirm pricing also caused further delays.”