Education Ministry to start monitoring teaching environment

WINDHOEK: The Minister of Education, David Namwandi says his ministry will start monitoring and supervising the teaching environment to “ensure that every minute is devoted to teaching and learning”.

Namwandi made this announcement on Thursday during the introduction of his ministry’s budget to the National Assembly (NA), saying this year’s theme is ‘Time on Task’.

“We need to closely observe the learning environment and continuously strive to ensure that teachers utilise the most effective teaching and learning methods,” he said.

The lion’s share of this year’s national budget – N.dollars 10.7 billion – was allocated to the Education Ministry for the 2014/15 financial year.

Namwandi indicated that it could be that the N.dollars 7 billion that goes towards teaching activities is not well spent.

He stated that from the N.dollars 9.6 billion that will be allocated to pre-primary, primary and secondary education, N.dollars 7 billion will be used on remuneration expenditure.

He explained that the funds will be used to remunerate about 24 660 teachers and school administrators.

The minister however stated that with the repetition rates averaging 16 percent overall and as high as 31 percent at Grade Eight level, it has became evident that the money that goes towards the core activities of teaching is not well spent.

“It either means that the 195 days set aside for teaching and learning are not fully utilised for these activities, or that teachers are not sufficiently prepared for the teaching and learning environment,” he said.

He further stated that the ministry has observed that the cost of services associated with education continue to rise and constitute a significant portion of expenditure.

Namwandi said the Education Ministry spends about N.dollars 500 million annually on catering for 57 935 learners who are accommodated in 217 Government school hostels, adding that this is in stark contrast to the N.dollars 80 million spent on textbooks and learning guides annually.

A total of N.dollars 770 million has been earmarked for development programmes during the 2014/15 financial year.

“We however have to look into more cost-efficient and cost-effective ways of running our school hostels,” he stated.

He added that last year, they spent N.dollars 100 million on providing one midday meal to learners as part of the national feeding programme.

“The figure again overshadows the amount we spent on textbooks and learning materials,” he noted, adding that the drought emergency in 2013 saw them feeding 310 000 learners compared to their target of feeding 270 000 beneficiaries.

“We also vow to closely monitor the school feeding programme to avoid possible wastage and to keep education costs within the available budget allocation,” he said.

SOURCE: NAMPA