Decentralization Moves Up a Gear

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By Frederick Philander

WINDHOEK

Decentralization in the education sector has been moving at a snail’s pace since the coming into existence of the Government’s Decentralization Enabling Act.

This is the view of the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Education, Vitalis Ankama, who officially opened a consultative meeting this week between himself and three regional councils. The regional councils represented at the meeting were Caprivi, Kavango and Kunene.

“(But) the Ministry of Education is now fully visible in all the thirteen regions of the country in terms of schools, inspectorate offices and other support services, controlled and managed through regional education offices. We are thus fully decentralized in terms of our operations,” Ankama said.

According to Ankama, his ministry is now at an advanced stage in preparing the grounds for delegation of educational functions and support functions to regional councils.

“This workshop should therefore help to identify the functions, sub-functions and activities to be delegated to regional councils and those that should remain at the ministry’s headquarters. This identification is imperative as it has a bearing on the human and other resources that will accompany the functions to regional councils,” the permanent secretary warned.

He intimated that the delegated functions and seconded staff to run the decentralization programme will be accommodated within regional council structures.

“The ministry will identify staff members to be seconded to the regional councils. We need to agree on the modalities for the handling of delegated staff. This will make the transition easier for all of us when we sit with the individual regional councils. I also have in mind partnerships with the various communities to empower the people,” he said at the workshop, which is financially made possible by the Finnish Embassy.

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