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Education scoops 28.9% of the national budget, with around 81% marked salaries

By:Nghiinomenwa-vali Erastus
The country’s Finance Minister Iipumbu Shiimi has joined the public in demanding more from the education facilitators.
Shiimi’swas made when he delivered his 2022/23 Budget Statement in Parliament on 24 February 2022. Despite the unsatisfactory performance coming from the education facilitators, he still made sure they got 28.9% of the national budget.
He, however, made his dissatisfaction clear, as the taxpayers’ investment in education struggles to deliver returns.
“And yet the actual education outcomes and return on these investments over time are not at all commensurate with our expectations,” he stated.
The Minister said the public/taxpayers need to get more value for every dollar spent on education.
Shiimi explained that while there are gaps in terms of education infrastructures that need urgent attention, he demanded better from his colleagues (Anna Nghipondoka and Murangi) allocation of the education budget.
“I also believe there is also great scope for increased efficiencies in the utilisation of the current budget. The problem in education is not simply one of lack of resources,” he pointed out.
Despite his dissatisfaction, Shiimi and his team have increased the allocation to Basic Education to N$16.8 billion in FY2023/24 and promised to give the ministry N$51.2 billion over the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF).
Furthermore, it seems like most of the money the country put together to invest in the education sector just goes to salaries and a few million go to infrastructures and stationeries, textbooks and other up-keeps.
In the 2023/23 financial year, of the N$16,8 billion allocated to the Ministry of Basic Education, N$13, 7 billion will be spent on salaries and wages..
Despite the big expenditures on personnel, the country has 580 teaching vacancies, with 140Khomas, 76 in Zambezi, and 73 in Ohangwena, which the most affected regions in the country.
Shiimi indicated more than N$200 million is earmarked for the recruitment of additional teachers to ensure adequate teacher-learner ratios in classrooms.
More than N$570 million has been availed in the development budget to cater for the construction and renovation of classrooms as well as other education infrastructures such as hostels and offices.
The country has a classroom deficit of 4 072, according to the Ministry of Basic Education.
Despite the public sentiments on the quality of graduates from tertiary institutions and vocational training centres, the Treasurer has allocated to Higher Education an amount of N$3,8 billion for the financial year 2023/24, which is 9.8% higher than the 2022/23 financial year.
The additional allocation, explained Minister Shiimi, is to cater for student funding by the Namibia Student Financial Assistance Fund (NSFAF) as well as the completion and operationalisation of the VTCs.
He also allocated extra money to equip the UNAM Medical School with the requisite equipment to facilitate training in the School of Dentistry.
Over the MTEF, the Ministry of Higher Education will receive an estimated N$11,8 billion.
Shiimi indicated that the education sector continues to absorb a growing share of the national purse, equating to 9.6% of GDP and making Namibia one of the highest spenders on education the world over.

Nghiinomenwa-vali Erastus

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