The Ministry of Education in collaboration with United Nations Children’s Fund is still working on its turnaround strategy for Namibian education after spending only N$17m of the allocated N$200m by Unicef as part of its financial obligations for the next four years.
48 schools in Hardap and Ohangwena Regions are supposed to benefit from the school programmes that have been implemented.
Unicef is supposed to ensure that contributed funds are administered on the Namibia Education Transition Fund (NETF), Gerit Maritz, Chief of Education of the United Nations Children’s Fund told The Villager.
The NET Fund was launched last year by the Ministry of Education in partnership with UNICEF and UNESCO and other Non-Governmental Organizations.
Maritz said “As of July 2014 and as per the financial reporting obligations €1,259,042.77 (N$17,387,380.65) has been spent of an allocated €1 600 000 (N$220,960,000). Updated expenditure reports will be available in January 2015.”
She suggested that the NETF aims to fill the funding gap Namibia is experiencing as a result of being classified as an upper middle income country,
“It also aims to coordinate donor support towards agreed upon priorities of the MoE. Despite Namibia’s classification as an upper middle income country, there are still many inequities in education that needs to be addressed to bridge the gap between access to quality of education between the rich and the poor.”
She firmly stated that accountability for the successful implementation of the Namibia NETF rests jointly with the MoE and UNICEF.
“Although the NETF activities are led by MoE, specific components are delivered by academic or research institutions, private services providers, other UN agencies such as UNESCO or non-governmental organizations.”
She added that UNICEF signs a Contract or Programme Cooperation Agreement with implementing partners to manage specific components of the NETF programme on behalf of Government.
“This will be expanded to include 100 more schools in 2015. The entire programme will be scaled up by Government to cover all schools in 2016.” She said
She said that UNICEF is fully involved in the project as funds administrator and also providing technical support in the implementation and scale up of the programme.
UNICEF works with Government to ensure pro-poor programmes are in place to reach the most vulnerable and marginalized in the communities.
The Social Accountability programme aims to get parents and community members more involved in the management of schools and take an active role in their children’s education.
The programme allows for school development plans that are monitored by the school governing boards and parents to ensure that quality education is achieved/ maintained.
The programme also provides the opportunity for children to input into the development of their schools by raising factors in their schools that require attention such as poor sanitation or school safety.
“Social accountability asserts the power of all stakeholders in education, teachers, parents and children, to participate in the improvement of their schools and to keep each other accountable for this improvement.”
At the launch last year, the Minister of Education stated that the education transition fund will further mobilise-resources and technical assistance to accelerate access to quality early childhood development and education as well as restore the professional status of teachers and ensure that all Namibian children, regardless of their social economic background have equal access to quality education.