Urgent need to improve education quality to justify investment: Schlettwein

07 Mar 2018 18:50pm
WINDHOEK, 07 MAR (NAMPA) – There is an urgent need to improve the quality of education outcomes to justify the high investment rate per learner in Namibia, Minister of Finance Calle Schlettwein has said.
Namibia spends over N.dollars 18 668 per learner per year, he said while tabling the 2018/19 National Budget in the National Assembly on Wednesday.
“This amount actually rises even higher than this given the high failure rate annually,” Schlettwein said.
He noted that the social sectors take up N.dollars 28.8 billion of the total budget of N.dollars 65 billion for the 2018/19 financial year.
Under the social sector, the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture receives N.dollars 13.5 billion, which is 4 per cent more than the revised allocation for the 2017/18 financial year.
Higher Education, Training and Innovation receives N.dollars 3.2 billion and about N.dollars 9.8 billion for the next three years (Mid-Term Expenditure Framework).
Schlettwein noted that this amongst others entails N.dollars 960 million for the University of Namibia, N.dollars 600 million for the Namibia University of Science and Technology and N.dollars 1.45 billion for the Namibia Students Financial Assistance Fund.
“The total expenditure this year on education is 28,5 per cent. This equates to 9 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product, which makes Namibia one of the highest spenders on education,” he said.
Schlettwein said shortage of money is not the problem, however the inefficient management systems in schools and tertiary institutions, teaching capacity gaps, weak research and innovation drives, and lack of performance management are all aspects that need immediate and urgent attention.
Health and Social Services receives N.dollars 6.5 billion and about N.dollars 19.6 billion over the next three years (MTEF).
“The health system too is suffering from expensive inefficiencies resulting in overpriced services and pharmaceuticals, sometimes three times the value of the respective service or medication,” said Schlettwein.
Poverty Eradication and Social Welfare is allocated N.dollars 3.4 billion which is 3,7 per cent more than the revised allocation of N.dollars 3.3 billion of the previous year, with Schlettwein adding that the increment is to maintain the existing programmes.
He noted that as a commitment to maintain the grants in real value and given the high dependence ratio, the old age pension is increased by N.dollars 50, bringing this grant to N.dollars 1 250 per month.