Windhoek-Schools and regional education directorates are left with no option but to recruit unqualified teachers on a temporary basis to fill the high demand for teachers.
This was the finding of the Auditor General Junias Kandjeke in his report on the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture for the financial year ended March 31, 2016.
Kandjeke also observed that one of the main factors that contributed to over-expenditure is the payment of separation perks to temporary teachers.
He found that there is a high demand for teachers, which is also due to an attempt by the education ministry to comply with the requirements as per the staffing norms for teachers, requiring one teacher for 35 learners for primary schools and one teacher for 30 learners for secondary schools.
But there is a grave shortage of qualified teachers.
The report says that temporary teachers are entitled to non-separation gratuities at the end of their contract, or even in cases of resignation prior to the conclusion of the term of contract.
The Public Service Management Circular No. 6 of 2009, on contract of employment, authorises that the payment of non-separation gratuities backdates as far as 2009.
However, Kandjeke observed that regions did not make budgetary provision for the payment of backdated gratuities but were obliged to make this payment, resulting in overspending.
Furthermore, he said, the implementation of remoteness allowances for institutional workers, matrons and school secretaries with effect from April 1, 2015 had an impact on overspending.
The ministry also experienced an increase in the number of teachers that upgraded their qualifications whereby salary adjustments were implemented either through performance bonuses or increases in notches.
He noted that once qualifications are upgraded teachers and staff members also apply for subsidies and purchase houses, but sufficient budgetary provision was not made for these allowances.
Kandjeke said the biggest chunk of the overspending of 4.03 percent under the main divisions are under personnel expenditure, with remuneration reflecting an overspending of N$293.724 million, employer’s contribution to the Government Institutions Pension Fund (GIPF) overspending by N$3.5 million and other conditions of service by N$13.9 million.
He explained that the overspending is ascribed to budget cuts during the 2015/16 financial year. The mid-year budget review during the 2015/16 financial year resulted in mandatory budget cuts.
He said the ministry’s budget under remuneration, under the main divisions of primary education (N$281.956 million) and secondary education (N$155.666 million) was reduced by N$223.868 million.
“The budget cuts were implemented despite communication of observed trends of overspending under the personnel expenditure budgets,” he observed.
The ministry’s original total budget was N$11.321 billion and the additional budget allocation of N$372.505 million during the financial year for the implementation of the salary increase, brought the total budget to N$11.694 billion.
Therefore, he said, the budget cut of N$271.660 million (N$223.898 million operational and N$47.790 million development budget) reduced the total budget to over N$11 million.
“The ministry’s overall overspending would be at 1 percent if the budget cut was not implemented,” he noted.