Divundu — Although it is yet to be officially commissioned, the country's first-ever school of excellence opened its doors to learners a1long with other government schools on Tuesday.
Speaking exclusively to New Era at the school on Tuesday, Under-Secretary for Formal Education in the Ministry of Education, Charles Kabajani, was upbeat about the prospects of delivering high quality secondary education at the much-vaunted 'project school'.
The momentous occasion was attended by the Education Director in the Kavango Region, Alfons Dikuua, chief headman of the Hambukushu Traditional Authority, Erwin Diescho, parents and various officials from the education fraternity around the country.
"This school is different from all other government schools in terms of infrastructure, staffing and the learning environment presented to the learners. If you look closely, here we have a school counsellor and a nurse - something you do not find at other government schools," said Kabajani.
The Under-Secretary emphasized that the 16 teachers at the school will all go through teacher development programmes, such as appraisals to improve their abilities.
"Government will provide everything for these learners, from toiletries, school uniforms to accommodation, as well as food and other learning materials. They will even be transported to their respective regions when school closes," he said.
He said the school will use the same curriculum as other government schools, adding that high quality teaching will be expected from the teachers. "The teachers we have appointed have the same qualifications as those at other schools - what we want is to develop a teaching philosophy to ensure success."
"At the moment the school will only offer the standard subjects and vocational subjects such as entrepreneurship and design and technology. Technical subjects such as woodwork will be introduced at a later stage," explained Kabajani.
We are targeting Grade 8 learners, and due to the quality of education that will be delivered here, we expect all these kids to write their Grade 12 examinations on a higher level in a few years time, he said.
Having conceptualized the vision school idea in 2003, Kabajani said the learners will be targeted for funding by the government to further their studies once they matriculate, adding that non-state sponsors will also be approached to fund their studies.
"At the moment we envisage to construct six schools of this kind. These are in regions where feasibility studies have been done such as Ohangwena, Oshana, Otjozondjupa, Omusati, Oshikoto," he revealed.
When asked why the ministry plans to build all the schools in the northern part of the country, Kabajani responded: "It is not a matter of taking all the schools to the north, learners will still be drawn from all over the country for enrollment. Other regions such as Hardap are also considered as possible sites for these schools."