The Minister of Education, Dr. David Namwandi last week inaugurated a Regional Study and Resource Centre (RSRCs) in the Omaheke region, in Gobabis.
The RSRC was constructed with funding from the Millennium Challenge Account Namibia (MCA-N) as part of the N$176 million project that saw the same facilities being opened in Oshana and Ohangwena regions.
MCA-N also gave the RSRC equipment valued around N$5 million.
Speaking at the inauguration, Namwandi noted that it is not only the inauguration of the centre but also a new leash on knowledge and new access to information and the empowerment it offers to everyone.
“We are inaugurating a new era of development in the Omaheke region and its people- all its people, young and old. When we talk about the lack of a reading culture in Namibia, it saddens me. It saddens me that our people could parish because of a lack of knowledge,” he said.
However, government has been left with the task to build the rest of the 11 RSRCs in other regions.
Namwandi also described the three that were built as the first phase of the project that has been completed with the assistance from the MCA but now government has to accomplish the rest itself.
Namwandi admitted that the 11 RSRCs that are yet to be built by the government have not yet been budgeted for and that the year has come to an end and thus the budgeting will only be completed in the 2015/2016 budget.
“For education government has already budgeted over 13 billion and this does not include the 11 RSRCs that still need to be built by government. The current resources do not cater for them unfortunately,” said Namwandi.
Namwandi reiterated that usually the budget has to be appropriated and approved by the government thus they cannot set up a budget regarding the rest of the 11 RSRCs a without having it go through the right mediums.
On Education alone, the MCA-N spent 47% of all the funds the initiative allocated to Namibia, this was approximately N$1.6 billion out of the N$3.37 billion.
“Namibia is the only country that spent the funds wisely and any money left will go back to the US and we cannot claim this money,” said Namwandi.
Namwandi added that there were certain cases where the government spent money on the projects if the MCA-N was unable to, giving an example on how they have assisted in the renovations of Community Skills Development Centres (COSDEC).
The Chief Executive Officer of the MCA-N, Penny Akwenye, said the three RSRCs are essentially pilots for 11 future RSRCs that the government is funding in each region. An RSRC in Omusati region is already underway,” she said.
N$3 billion of the funds never reached Namibia as they had to request the funds quarterly but any extra funds would be from the exchange rates.
“MCA-N received the N$3 billion and implemented all the activities that were planned and 27 extra activities,” she added, “when we bought 1.7 million books which were for science, mathematics and English for those in Grades 5-12, it was done countrywide but then no books were set aside for those in programs,” she said.
She further noted that they spent N$6000 on some books that were in Braille to include the visually impaired in the initiative as well.
Additionally, 48 schools in 10 out of the 14 regions were upgraded, renovated and equipped to a combined value of N$600 million and a collective amount of N$1104 331 was spent to equip the HIV/AIDs management unit.