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N$165m towards free education

Mon, 28 September 2015 23:53
by Donald Matthys

The Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture (MoEAC) has allocated N$165 million in the 2014/2015 financial year towards education grants for free education, The Villager has learned.

Since the introduction of the Universal Primary Education (UPE) system or free education in 2013, funding for free primary education has increased exponentially.

In the 2012/2013 budget year, funding was N$50 million, while in 2013/2014 it stood at N$162 million, increasing to N$165 million in the current financial year. The increase in this funding can be attributed to the increase in enrolments, which increased rapidly after the introduction of free education.

Projections provided by the MoEAC show that pre- primary education enrolments might have increased by 25% from 23 624 learners in 2013 to 29 530 learners in 2014, while enrolments at primary level might have increased from a total 432 420 learners to 445 393 in 2014, with a record 3% growth.

“In 2013, the Ministry implemented fee free education from Grades 0-7. Following the implementation of fee free education, the Ministry recorded an increase of learner enrolments at primary level at schools countrywide. Our aim is to ensure that every Namibian child receives quality education, for free, as we are mandated by article 20 of the Namibian constitution,” Johanna Absalom, Public Relations’ Officer of the MoEAC told The Villager.

Absalom added that they are expecting that with the continuous implementation of free education, there will be an increase in enrolments in the primary grades, as it shows to have increased by 3%.

Education in Namibia is free for all learners enrolled in public primary schools, regardless of their nationality. The real growth for the primary phase as from 2011 to 2012 was 2%. The percentage of growth was taken from the historical growth over time as calculated in the 2012 census, which was the last completed census for the Ministry.

“Fee free education lifts the economic burden of paying fees. In the long run, all learners, regardless of their socio-economic background, are able to attend school. The Ministry cannot emphasize enough that quality education is the backbone of national development, and investments in education such as this grant will enable Namibia to achieve Vision 2030,” she stated.

Since the beginning of this year, the number of learners in pre-primary schools stood at 31 408 from all over the 14 regions of the country. Learners at the primary level increased up to 461 934, while secondary-level enrolments stand at 203 610. Other enrolments accounted for 1523, showing total enrolments currently at 698 475. The number of teachers from all 14 regions is 26 847. The Ohangwena region has the highest number of enrolments, which stood at 98 027.

“The provision of fee free education is a step in the right direction to ensure that Namibia also attains a knowledge-based citizenry. The Government is committed towards national development through investments in education - by providing quality and more educational facilities,” Absalom noted.

The Minister of Education, Arts and Culture, Katrina Hanse- Himarwa earlier this year told The Villager that although there is a high need for infrastructural development in the whole education sector, the resources to carry out that development are not sufficient.

“Even though we get the largest bulk of the national budget, 75% of the money allocated to the sector goes to Education personnel throughout the country, and we are only left with 25%, which has to cater for all the other projects within the whole sector, including infrastructural development” Hanse Himarwa explained.