Covid costs education
The ministry of education allotted N$2 million less this year to Covid-19 related costs since schools have already paid for the necessary infrastructure.
02 February 2021 | Education
Sanet Steenkamp; Executive Director; “…it should be just enough to cover the necessary costs.”
The ministry of education, arts and culture received N$56 million from central government to be spent on Covid-19 related costs at state schools, the ministry's executive director Sanet Steenkamp said.
“It sounds like a lot of money but if you disperse it among roughly 1 720 state schools nationwide, it should be just enough to cover the necessary costs,” said Steenkamp.
Private schools have also gained financial assistance from the ministry based on merit.
“We looked at the fact that many parents lost their income and many private school teachers were facing the possibility of a large pay cut.”
Private schools were required to set up a budget of their Covid-19 related costs which the ministry evaluated before awarding financial assistance.
“Central government availed these funds and appointed local authorities to keep an eye on this,” Steenkamp said, adding the allocated funds for both state and private schools roughly totals N$70 million.
The expenditure on masks last year will not be repeated this year. Steenkamp said schools often preferred to have personalised masks with a school emblem and some parents provided masks for their children.
Last year, the ministry spent roughly N$16,8 million on masks alone.
She however insisted the absence of a mask should not hinder marginalised and less fortunate students in their education.
“If students do not have access to masks, we expect masks should be made available for them to use,” she says.
Every school must have an isolation room which is used to isolate students who test positive for Covid-19. Alternatively, the ministry of health and social services will take responsibility for the isolation of such individuals.
Steenkamp also noted it is currently a standard operating procedure for schools to have a Covid-19 preparedness and response committee.
Roosmarie September, the principal of Namib High School in Swakopmund, is grateful to the ministry for their financial and moral support.
“We really have no complaints about the amount that is allocated per child. I can only speak on behalf of our school because we do have parents who still willingly donate money to the school and we do have access to infrastructure other schools may not have,” said September.
Namib High had one student who tested positive for the virus last year and according to September, it was initially a dizzying experience.
“I commend the health officials who helped us. It was a very confusing time and I had no idea what the procedure was but they helped me immensely. I must also thank our students for the way they handled this experience.”
The student who tested positive, according to September, had initially contacted friends with the news instead of informing school management.
The students who were in contact with the affected all tested negative after tests were conducted by the ministry of health and social services, but had to write their exams in isolation prior to being tested and receiving their results.