25 Mar 2016 11:50am
WINDHOEK, 25 MAR (NAMPA) - The Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture intends to develop a comprehensive master plan for the rehabilitation of old education facilities and the development of new facilities over the next five years.
Motivating the ministrys budget allocation of N.dollars 12 794 882 000 in the National Assembly on Wednesday, Minister of Education, Arts and Culture Katrina Hanse-Himarwa explained that such a plan would help the ministry to determine what infrastructure requires rehabilitation and where new infrastructure is needed in all 14 regions.
We believe that doing so should place us in a better bargaining position with the Ministry of Finance whom we intend to lobby for increased allocations, particularly to our development budget, for the upcoming financial years, she said.
Hanse-Himarwa expressed concern that the development budget allocation remains a fraction of the total budget allocation, whereas the operational budget allocation will continue to receive the lion's share of the budget.
This trend, she added, is extremely worrying to the ministry, considering the escalating need for education facilities due to the growing annual demand for such facilities due to the increasing learner enrolment rate coupled with the existing infrastructure backlog.
Despite the insignificant amount being allocated for our capital projects, the ministry has been facing numerous challenges when it comes to the execution of its capital budget namely the budget cycle, issues with project management, reliance on third parties for execution of its plans and the absence of an education facilities master plan, amongst others.
The minister noted that the 2016/17 budget will focus on six key programmes - policy coordination and support services; pre-primary education; primary education; secondary education; information, adult and lifelong learning; arts and culture and the HIV/AIDS management unit (HAMU).
She further said a master plan for pre-primary education is being developed to accelerate the increase of learner enrolments and enrich programmes at pre-primary education level.
A total of N.dollars 188 077 000 is allocated to pre-primary education programmes and will be utilised for the salaries of pre-primary teachers; in-service training of teachers; the construction of pre-primary classes; provision of teaching and learning materials and provision of playground facilities and other services that relate to mitigating the transition of the integration of Early Childhood Development (ECD) into the formal schooling system.
I must point out here that an ECD transitional plan is in place and budgetary implication for its implementation once it is transferred from the Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare will be concluded by the end of the 2016/17 financial year to enable operationalisation in 2017/18, Hanse-Himarwa said.