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Ministry of Education considering increasing hostel fees

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Minister of Education, Arts and Culture Anna Nghipondoka has said they will consider increasing hostel fees for government schools as catering for boarding learners is proving to be very costly.According to Nghipondoka, the catering for government scho…

Minister of Education, Arts and Culture Anna Nghipondoka has said they will consider increasing hostel fees for government schools as catering for boarding learners is proving to be very costly.

According to Nghipondoka, the catering for government school hostels will in the 2021/22 financial year amount to N.dollars 582 million for 65 000 learners and institutional workers who are housed in hostels.

“These 65 000 learners who are costing the ministry more than half a billion dollars to feed make up only eight per cent of the total learner population of 800 000,” she said, adding that, this depicts a gross inequity.

Nghipondoka was responding to questions in the National Assembly by Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) parliamentarian Esmeralda !Aebes on Monday on why the ministry continues to require parents to pay school fees, especially amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The minister noted that hostel fees do not form part of universal free education and parents currently pay very little in hostel fees and hostel development fund contribution.

She went on to say the ministry might increase parents’ contributions to the upkeep of their children in hostels.

“To achieve this, we are embarking upon hostel reclassification which will inform the determination of hostel fees and hostel development fund adjustments,” Nghipondoka said.

She said while it may be a challenge for some parents to pay hostel fees for the children, increasing the fees is justified as parents also need to contribute to their children’s education.

Also addressing the issue of textbooks and material supplies in schools, Nghipondoka clarified that the shortage of textbooks and subsequent demand for parents to buy textbooks and learning materials is not because of a shortage of money, but due to suppliers failing to deliver.

She said following complaints by parents, she visited schools across the country where she found that the money for textbooks is available, but suppliers contracted to supply schools with books have been failing.

An amount N.dollars 35 million was allocated to textbooks and material supplies last year.

“I discovered that a contract or tender has been issued to supply books and other study materials, but then there seems to be a problem with the supplier. Kavango West reported to me that they budgeted for about 20 000 books, but only got about 3 000 books,” she said, adding that the same problem is reported by directors and principals in almost all other regions.

Nghipondoka stated that the ministry is now looking at ways to cut down on the supply chain to ensure effective supplying of books to schools.

Source: Namibia Press Agency