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Education Targets Higher Grades, Better Service

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The education ministry has set itself high targets in access to pre-primary education and university admissions for the next four years.

The targets were announced by education minister Katrina Hanse-Himarwa at Friday's launch of their five-year strategic plan during her annual address to ministerial staff in Windhoek.

According to the strategic plan, the ministry aims to more than double the proportion of children who have access to at least one year of pre-primary education, from 38% in 2017/18 to 80% by 2021/22. This amounts to an average 10 percentage point increase per year over the next four years.

The ministry also wants to achieve a five percentage point annual increase in the number of pupils qualifying for university admission between now and 2022, from 36% currently to 60% in 2021/22.

With Hanse-Himarwa previously having expressed concern over the low number of pupils scoring a D grade and above in Grade 12 for English, the ministry has targeted to jump from a baseline of 28% currently to 50% of pupils obtaining a D grade or higher by 2021/22.

Similar high targets have also been set for maths and science for the five-year period.



Encouraging ministry staff to work towards the targets set out in the plan, Hanse-Himarwa spotlighted some areas of concern in the ministry.

She pointed out that the management of capital projects was unsatisfactory as the ministry had for two consecutive years "recorded very little success in the management" of such projects.

"As we continue to battle with limited financial allocations from treasury to our capital budget coffers, we cannot afford to under-perform on this aspect," Hanse-Himarwa said.

Project managers as well as divisional and directorate heads were urged to ensure the efficient delivery of the educational facilities required to enhance the teaching and learning environment.

Applauding staff for their efforts to maintain and update the ministry's stock registers, the minister, however, stated that the absence of a "comprehensive assets register remains a huge bother".

She thus called for the ministerial assets register to be established in the 2018/19 financial year.

The minister also used the platform to address reports of poor service delivery by education officials.


She did not mince her words when she told staff that rudeness, sluggishness, laziness and complacency in the execution of their tasks and duties would not be tolerated, and that those found guilty would be dealt with severely.

The minister furthermore expressed concern over the fact that the majority of officials had not signed performance agreements with the ministry, and those who had, did not ensure a systematic review of such agreements.

She pointed out that according to a survey by the Office of the Prime Minister last year, the public was not satisfied with the service provided by the ministry.

The survey gave the ministry a 58% performance rating, which is far below the 70% performance rating to be achieved by 2020 under the Harambee Prosperity Plan.

"I am concerned that our progress with regards to the full implementation of the performance management system has lost momentum this year," she said, and directed that all staff comply with the performance management framework.



"Just know that if you are always treating people with attitude and you are always rude, there is something rude in you.

There is something lacking within yourself, and that is why you treat other people, who need assistance, badly," the minister stressed.

Looking back at the past financial year, Hanse-Himarwa admitted that the decision to cut certain critical operations, such as school grants, the school-feeding programme and hostel catering had not worked out well, and caused a public outcry.

She said the revised allocation during the mid-term budget review luckily eased the ministry's financial difficulties, and they could now address some of the shortfalls facing the ministry.

The Namibian last year reported that schools struggled to cope under the cost-cutting measures introduced in 2017/18.

The principal of Dr Lemmer High School at Rehoboth, Patrick Britz, was last year quoted as saying their operational budget was cut by 57%, and that they were informed that expenses previously carried by the regional directorate had been transferred to the schools.

The responsibility for cleaning materials, transport for educational trips and top-ups on text- books, furniture maintenance and repairs, as well as security services, was shifted to schools.

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