By: Justicia Shipena
Education executive director Sanet Steenkamp says the ministry has allocated N$51 million for school stationery, and 81%, equivalent to N$36 million, has already been spent.
Steenkamp said the remaining money had been deposited in the school accounts by the regions to buy stationery.
This comes as the ministry on Tuesday asked schools to submit financial reports indicating the balance in each school and hostel development fund bank accounts.
The report, which must show other funding sources apart from the ministry’s annual grant, is to be handed in no later than 12 January 2022.
“Therefore, the stationery list is for principals to inform parents what they can still assist with,” she said.
Speaking to The Villager, Steenkamp said schools receive universal grants paid via the regional directorates.
“We want to know how much money the school accounts have, and we are also trying to establish how much of that money has been spent on stationery,” said Steenkamp.
She added that once they know how much is in the schools’ accounts, the regional directors can then work on whether the money can be spent on stationery or sanitation.
She further said, “What we want is to determine from the schools or how much is in school accounts? What is the money for? How much of that money has already been earmarked for stationery? How much stationery was already procured?”
Steenkamp said schools would be held accountable for failure to comply with the due date set for the report submission.
“There is a disciplinary process put in place,” she said.
Education minister Anna Nghipondoka has also said some schools receive the money directly to purchase stationery.
“But the majority of the regions buy the stationery for them. Some of these schools are far in the rural areas and can’t manage to run from shop to shop buying materials,” she said.
She added that some schools receive the money and keep it as they struggle with procurement.
“This is mostly caused by lack of transport, and some towns don’t have book shops. Hence we felt that the regions should do this on their behalf.”
Nghipondoka added that parents should still take responsibility for their children’s education.
“What we emphasise is that the materials nowadays are not enough, and the allocation per child that we give to schools is not planned because of the economic situation we live in now,” she said.
Nghipondoka added that schools should indicate to parents how much is needed through financial reports.
“They should show the parents that they bought materials through government fund,” she said.
She said the school development fund is non-existent, but there are other contributions schools may request from parents.
“Schools are requesting something from parents which is correct, as long as it does not exclude the child from accessing education,” said Nghipondoka.
Nghipondoka said it is illegal for schools to say; “If your parents are not contributing, you will not attend school,” adding that schools rely on the goodwill of parents too.
“Parents should still contribute to additional activities at the schools. However, if parents are to contribute, it must be made clear. If a parent can’t afford to contribute, they should’nt be forced to,” she said.