By: Anton Mbinge
The Teachers Union of Namibia (TUN) secretary-general Mahongora Kavihuha, said that the increase in the basic education budget to recruit more teachers as well as build and renovate classrooms will bring relief to the educator sector.
Similarly, the Students Union of Namibia (SUN) commended the government and described the increase as a step in the right direction.
The budget allocation comes in light of several schools, including hostels across the country, being in a state of dilapidation. The budget will also provide job opportunities for education graduates who have been struggling to find employment.
Minister of Finance Ipumbu Shiimi recently stated that they have increased the allocation to basic education to N$16.8 billion for 2023/24 financial year and N$51.2 billion over the medium term expenditure framework( MTEF).
“Of these allocations, more than N$200 million is earmarked for the recruitment of additional teachers to ensure adequate teacher-learner ratios in classrooms. Moreover, more than N$570 million has been availed in the development budget to cater for the construction and renovation of classrooms as well as other education infrastructures such as hostels and offices,” stated Shiimi.
According to Kavihuha, the budget will lessen the current burden on education if utilised effectively and efficiently. Kavihuha stated that the increase will also bring about relief, as many teachers will be recruited and more schools will be built.
“The good part of this year’s budget is that it came with specifications, that at least there is money appropriated for hiring more teachers in order to ease the burden on the teachers in the profession because of overcrowding of classrooms,” remarked Kavihuhua.
However, Kavihuhua raised concerns whether the funds will be used for the intended purpose as he claims that the ministry lacks adequate leadership skills.
In addition, the Student Union of Namibia (SUN) president, Bernhard Kavau stated that the allocated budget shows the efforts to prioritise education. Kavau urged the education top officials to focus more on advancing skills and elevate research that will improve the education sector in the country. He added that the budget must also be used to capacitate universities and TVET centers in order for them to introduce academic and technical programmes that are responsive to the current and future skills and knowledge demand.
“It shows we are prioritising education. However, we are of the view that now that the budget has been increased, we are cautioning those in authority should not be on honeymoon, travelling left, right and centre to collect S&T,”remarked Kavau.