UPE results in overspending by education ministry

13 Jul 2016 15:50pm
WINDHOEK, 13 JUL (NAMPA) - The implementation of Universal Primary Education (UPE) resulted in over-expenditure of more than N.dollars 900 million by the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture.
The ministry overspent by N. dollars 909 004 017.56, representing a 16.03 per cent increase.
This was revealed in the Auditor-General's Report for the Financial Year ended 31 March 2015 which was made available in the National Assembly on Tuesday.
It said the over-expenditure was due to the increase in the number of learners as learner numbers increased after UPE was introduced in 2014.
The abolishment of school fees saw learner enrolment increase by 7.5 per cent in 2014, compared to growth of 3.5 per cent in 2013.
The number of learners in 2013 was 449 243. It increased to 465 052 in 2014.
The report explained that the growth in learner numbers required the appointment of more teachers to meet the requirements as per the staffing norms.
The staffing norms require one teacher for every 25 pre-primary learners; one teacher for every 15 primary learners in special class; one teacher for every 35 learners in lower primary and one teacher for every 35 learners in upper primary.
The report further noted that the implementation of the language policy also had an impact on the budget.
That policy requires that learners from Grade One to Three are taught in their mother tongue, which required the appointment of teachers for all languages offered at the school, although the learner numbers do not justify that.
The report further said the implementation of the job evaluation and grading system in the 2013/14 financial year had huge financial implications for the ministry's budget, both during the year of implementation and subsequent financial years.
Allocation of funds to the ministry to cover the expenditure for the regrading was not sufficient, resulting in the over-expenditure, it said.
Other expenses incurred was the payment of temporary teachers.
The report noted that the demand for temporary teachers has increased over the years due to the influx of learners to urban areas, especially Grade One and Grade Eight learners.
Temporary teachers are appointed additional to the staff establishment since most of them are unqualified or under-qualified and cannot be appointed on a permanent basis.