Cabinet sets new rules for school patronsBy: DENVER KISTING
CABINET this week endorsed a new set of guidelines for donations to, renaming and patrons of schools.
Minister of Education Abraham Iyambo yesterday said a lack of clear and uniform guidelines had resulted in the haphazard implementation of the Education Act when it came to the renaming of schools, donations to them or the procedures needed before schools could name patrons.
Schools should follow specific guidelines when identifying, nominating and appointing school patrons, Iyambo said.
“A school patron should be nominated and endorsed by not less than 60% of the parent community or guardians at a general meeting of the entire parent community.”
Following this, the decision should be ratified by the school board.
A comprehensive profile of the individual should then be submitted to the Chief Regional Officer and the directorate of education in the region for their endorsement, Iyambo said.
“If agreed, the Chief Regional Officer shall present the name and profile of the patron to the PS and ultimately the Minister of Education for endorsement.”
He was addressing the media following a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday which discussed and accepted the new guidelines tabled by Iyambo.
Iyambo in September made an urgent trip to the Haihambo Primary School in the Ohangwena Region after its illegal closure by protesters. He ordered the immediate reopening of the school, describing the action as unconstitutional and illegal.
Swapo members from Omutwewomunhu village in the Epembe Constituency had locked the main gate at the school and prevented teachers and pupils from starting with the third term.
The bone of contention was the patronage of Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP) leader Hidipo Hamutenya and donations that he had made to the school.
The principal of the school was transferred to the regional office.
Iyambo said donations to schools should now be made either directly to the ministry or to the school development fund.
Should it be made to the Ministry of Education, the permanent secretary (PS) must furnish the Treasury with detailed information about the donation within 30 days.
Among other things, the PS must include the purpose of the donation or grant, its value and who made it.
Furthermore, the PS must outline the conditions, if any, attached to the donation and the motivation of the person who made the donation.
Should there be any direct or indirect expenses involved in acquiring the donation, such as transport costs, this must also be indicated.
Donations received directly by a school must be declared by the school board to the PS.
Furthermore, the school board should study the purpose, value, conditions and motivation of the donation.
Iyambo said the ministry needed to keep better track of donations.
“A record of new equipment at schools enables us to do better planning and to distribute materials and supplies to schools in an equitable manner. Such records will enable us to ensure that no schools and no learners are left behind.”
The ministry is in principle not against the renaming of schools, Iyambo said. However, certain guidelines should be followed, he stressed.
Firstly, a school board must apply to the PS if they want to rename the school. “The PS will in turn seek the concurrence of the Minister of Education.”
Also, a general meeting must be held with the pupils’ parents or guardians where at least 60% of them must agree to the proposed name change.
Once the parents have endorsed the proposed name change, it must be ratified by the school board.
Should the school board members approve, they must then submit the proposed name change to the regional education directorate for endorsement, after which it would be sent to the PS.