Scant pre-primary funding affects quality learning: Steenkamp

WINDHOEK: Inadequate funding of pre-primary education has set barriers to Namibia achieving quality-learning outcomes, with only 3 per cent of the education budget geared towards early grade education during the 2023/24 financial year.

This is according to Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture Executive Director (ED) Sanet Steenkamp, who in an interview with Nampa said education spending in Namibia is centred on primary and secondary education, with 3 per cent of its funding going to pre-primary education.

This sets barriers to achieving quality-learning outcomes at the later years in the education system, she said.

Steenkamp explained the allocation increased gradually from a mere 1.7 per cent in 2018/19 to 3 per cent in 2023/24 and further increased with 1 per cent to 4 per cent in the 2024/25 financial year. The aim is to gradually increase funding to foundation learning over the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) period – to reach a 10 per cent share of the education budget for pre-primary educ

She noted that during the 2023/24 financial year the education development budget accounted for 5 per cent of N.dollars 788 369 970, while 16 per cent of N.dollars 2.8 billion (N.dollars 2 812 900 000) was geared towards other expenditure including learning materials.

A total 79 per cent amounting to N.dollars 13 billion (N.dollars 13 308 561 000) went towards personnel expenditure.

‘Government’s commitment towards the education of the Namibian child is unquestionably visible in that the largest share of the national budget, 21.85 per cent goes to education. The ministry budget consultations with the Ministry of Finance continue to motivate for more funding, especially towards the funding of the National Conference on Education recommendations,’ Steenkamp said.

She further indicated that the ministry has received funding from the European Union (EU) of N.dollars 100 million (N.dollars 101 617 807) / (5 million Euro) towards the construction of pre-primary classrooms, early childhood development (EC
D) centres as well as the provision of maize meal blend under the school feeding programme, to be implemented during the 2024/25 financial year.

Source: The Namibia Press Agency