Poor control over utilisation of UPE funds: Hanse-Himarwa

13 Mar 2018 06:30am
RUNDU, 13 MAR (NAMPA) – There is poor control over the utilisation of universal primary education (UPE) and universal secondary education (USE) funds despite the national guidelines in place, Minister of Education Arts and Culture, Katrina Hanse-Himarwa, has said.
According to Hanse-Himarwa an assessment showed that a huge percentage of the UPE and USE funds that public schools get from the government is spent on uncoordinated and unnecessary transport.
UPE entails that children can attend primary school without being compelled to pay any school-related fees. This provision thus relieves parents and communities who would normally not be able to afford school fees from the financial barrier to education. With the USE came the implementation of fee-free secondary school in 2016, which allowed parents not to pay school development fees, as well as Grade 10 and 12 examination fees.
The education minister made these remarks in a statement read on her behalf during a regional meeting held with directors, principals, and inspectors of education in the Kavango East and West regions.
“While we acknowledge that some trips are important, I call upon principals to apply ethical principles in utilising the funds, especially for learning and teaching materials,” she said.
The minister said regional directors must ensure that audit reports from schools are thoroughly scrutinised and should any irregularities be found, these should be addressed without delay.
At the same time, she added, this is the most critical time to ensure that schools ask parents and all other stakeholders to support them.
“You have noted that the education grants have drastically reduced in the 2017/18 financial year, but at the same time we implore you to use all available means to raise funds to boost your resource base at the school,” she stated.
The ministry, she pointed out, has disbursed N.dollars 144 million for UPE and N.dollars 53 million for USE respectively during the 2017/18 financial year.
These disbursements were made to all 1 846 schools under the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture at a unit cost of N.dollars 250 per learner.
“We envisage an increment in the UPE and USE disbursement in the 2018/19 financial year. The allocation for community hostels will also be reconsidered in the 2018/19 financial year,” she noted.