Education budget fails to cater for critical sector needs

Education budget fails to cater for critical sector needs
Education budget fails to cater for critical sector needs

BOSETU President Finds Education Budget  Failing to Address  pressing Human Capital, welfare and Infrastructure needs in the class room

BOSETU President Winston Radikolo says the education budget for this financial year  is simply insufficient since it  has not been crafted to deal with already existing challenges such as the fact that there are not enough textbooks in schools, state of disrepair of facilities, dysfunctional equipment, just to mention a few.

Speaking at a BOSETU budget session at BOSETU headquaters this week Radikolo observed that this, therefore, means that there are no additional funds that have been earmarked for purposes of addressing existing challenges.

Radikolo also observed that while  the Ministry of Basic Education had reported during the Committee of Supply meeting in 2020 that it  had employed 1823 temporary teachers for expanded schools and to relieve teachers who are away on study or maternity leave as well as those on light duty due to ill health,  the 2021-22 budget does not seem to cater for the staffing needs of expanded schools.  “It is fair to conclude that the proposed recurrent budget allocation for the Ministry of Basic Education goes nowhere near addressing already existing challenges; as a result, the Ministry is likely to continue to engage temporary teachers, something that is not acceptable.  There should have been a deliberate effort to make budgetary provisions to cater for staffing needs of expanded schools”, the BOSETU President said.

Radikolo said the cosmetic increase in recurrent budget allocation to the Ministry which is up by some P500 million should not mislead anyone since it is clear in the budget notes that  the so-called increase is mainly driven by personnel emoluments for teachers and service charges, especially water and electricity in schools.

“This provides the reality with respect to where funding of basic education is concentrated, a phenomena that has persisted over the years.  As a result, there has not been any deliberate shift towards funding education reform initiatives such as the ETTSP, GECAF, Multiple pathways, just to mention a few, they remain lip service”,  observed the BOSETU president.

Radikolo also observed that like the lower education ministry budget even the  proposed budget allocation for higher education/tertiary education also presents a scenario where the focus is on maintaining what is in place. “ It is driven by the tertiary students’ sponsorship programme which entails allowances, tuition fees and medical expenses for Government-sponsored students enrolled in both public and private tertiary institutions”.

“Overall, the recurrent budget for the three ministries of Basic education, tertiary education and Labour and Employment,  is certainly insufficient and there are no indications that there has been any effort to steer it towards engendering the necessary education reforms.”

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