Study

Expenditure on quality of education is insufficient: Shiningayamwe

Summary

Although the ministry of education receives the biggest chunk of the national budget annually, little is spent on the quality of education, regional heritage officer in the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture, Agnes Shiningayamwe has said.Presentin…

Although the ministry of education receives the biggest chunk of the national budget annually, little is spent on the quality of education, regional heritage officer in the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture, Agnes Shiningayamwe has said.

Presenting the education financing regional consultation outcomes during the second national education conference here Wednesday, Shiningayamwe said 84 per cent of the education budget goes towards salaries and only 16 per cent caters for learning material and infrastructure development.

“Little is spent on ensuring quality education. Only three per cent goes to pre-primary education, which is an indication that learners start off with a weak foundation,” she said.

Shiningayamwe emphasised that low investment in pre-primary and early grade education means children start school with a weak foundation which will likely lead to poor outcomes, stressing that evidence shows a strong literacy foundation in Grade 0 and early grades is a predictor for success in later learning and schooling.

She noted that funds are not adequate to plan and achieve education transformation in the country, stressing that low outcomes are a result of an insufficient education system.

Shiningayamwe emphasised that due to low outcomes, there is evidence of high repetition learners and dropouts, noting that in 2019, 12.5 per cent of learners repeated a grade at an estimated cost of N.dollars 1.58 billion, representing 11.1 per cent of the ministry’s total budget.

Shiningayamwe further indicated that the government is the biggest contributor to education followed by household contributions. However, the introduction of ‘free education’ has led to parents completely withdrawing from supporting their children’s education.

There is thus a need for government to revisit the concept of free education which is currently misinterpreted and misunderstood, she said, before suggesting that government should allocate fishing quotas, mining licences and other resources to contribute to education funding.

Shiningayamwe went on to say that among other solutions, water and electricity should be the responsibility of service providers whilst salaries should go to the Ministry of Finance, stressing that the education budget should be for operational costs.

“COVID-19 health requirements led to the reprioritisation of education budgets, putting education under pressure, therefore, there is a need for the government to raise more funding through alternative ways,” she said.

Source: The Namibian Press Agency