Due to broader consultative processes the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture has made progress on its legislative frameworks and policy directives that have led to final drafts, which will soon be tabled in Cabinet and parliament.
This was revealed by Education, Arts and Culture Minister Katrina Hanse-Himarwa this week during an annual review of the education sector for the 2016/17 financial year. The meeting also looked at validation of the annual plan for 2017/18.
The minister said these policy directives include the education bill, school cluster policy, arts, and heritage and culture policy, among others.
According to her, the 2016/17 annual year was indeed a dynamic one.
She said the execution of the annual work plan for 2016/17 was orientated around the implementation of reforms geared towards improving service delivery.
This, she added, gradually increased the rate of efficiency and promoted accountability at all levels by refining operations and administration to ensure evidence-based reporting on set targets and deliverables.
Other achievements she shared included the establishment of a multi-sectoral committee by the ministry aimed to implement the Continental Education Strategy for Africa (CESA 16-25). CESA coordinated and successfully submitted that annual report to the Africa Union Commission in October 2016.
“Namibia presented this for the first time,” she noted.
In terms of education planning and monitoring, the minister said the ministry started decentralisation of the Institute for the Management of Information Systems (EMIS) with support from UNICEF to ensure that regions take ownership of data collection and the analysis process and contribute to timely production and utilization of education data.
Both the 15th Day Statistics for 2016 and 2017 and the EMIS 2015 reports are due for launching, but she said the ministry is one year late.
“There is an improvement, and 2016 data is currently being worked on by the regions to mention but a few.”
Other achievements she mentioned included the school policy with diversified plans to include local producers, which will be a sustainable option for feeding learners, examination results, the education act, the introduction of pre-vocational subjects, and the training programme for qualified and under-qualified teachers at the University of Namibia (Unam).
Despite the progress made, she maintained that the ministry has taken stock of some persisting challenges and gaps.
These include limited funds, gender gaps in relation to high dropout and repetition rates of learners, negative cultural practices, limited participation of men in the national literacy programmes and inadequate support to teenage parents.
“In light of this, certainly we have persistent challenges which the ministry wishes to address with speed, urgency and bold objectivity, and understand the rationale or justification for our actions especially with the current budgets downwardly reviewed,” she said.
Furthermore, she stated the ministry carried out an independent public expenditure review exercise with technical and financial assistance from UNICEF.
Therefore, she hopes to do more with little, to enhance efficiency as well as to improve accountability for value addition at all levels by refining operations and administration to ensure evidence-based reporting on set targets and deliverables.
She called on all directorates to align their plans to the ministry’s budget and to budget wisely.