Govt spent N.dollars 327 million on textbooks over five years

12 Mar 2019 10:10am
WINDHOEK, 12 MAR (NAMPA) – Despite spending N.dollars 327 million over five years, the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture is yet to meet the one-to-one learner-to-textbook ratio.
This was revealed by Minister of Education, Arts and Culture Katrina Hanse-Himarwa in a National Assembly session recently, responding to questions posed by Popular Democratic Movement Member of Parliament, Elma Dienda.
Dienda requested Hanse-Himarwa to address the shortage of textbooks in schools and the amount of teachers that have undergone training for the revised curriculum, as well as the lack of proper classrooms, given the impending winter season.
The ministry spent N.dollars 65 million on primary school textbooks over three years.
“The ministry procured books for junior primary (Grades 1 to 3) for N.dollars 25 million in the 2014/15 financial year and N.dollars 40 million for senior primary (Grades 4 to 7) for the 2015/16 financial year,” Hanse-Himarwa said.
For secondary school textbooks, the education ministry spent N.dollars 262 million.
“The ministry spent N.dollars 90 million on Junior Secondary (Grade 8 to 9) textbooks in 2016/17, as well as N.dollars 90 million in the 2017/18 financial year; and N.dollars 82 million in 2018/19 for National Senior Secondary Certificate Ordinary Level,” Hanse-Himarwa said.
The N.dollars 327 million spent is not sufficient to provide each learner in both primary and secondary schools with a textbook, she added.
“It should be noted that the curriculum is just revised and it has a larger proportion of the ‘old curriculum’. This means that old textbooks are not obsolete - they are also helpful to cover the gap,” Hanse-Himarwa said.
She further said the lack of proper classrooms stems from the increasing rate of migration from rural to urban areas.
“The ministry assessed the current situation with regards to the number of classes in corrugated iron [structures], tents, and so on in the regions and created a priority list to channel resources to manage the situation, but it should be noted that the migration of people to urban areas and continued rate of population growth will continue to create stress on limited resources, especially in junior primary grades,” Hanse-Himarwa explained.
The education minister also said teachers should train each other the revised subjects because there is about one teacher per subject per school for every senior secondary school.
“The number of trained teachers indicates that one teacher in a subject was trained for every senior secondary school offering NSSCO. This is where school-based professional development initiatives and peer-coaching or on-site mentoring programmes should be applied,” Hanse-Himarwa said.