28 January 2013

Namibia: Teacher Collapses in Real-Life Drama

Oshakati — Efforts by the school principal to restructure her school resulted in members of the media and an ambulance being called to Kandjengedhi Primary School after one of the teachers allegedly collapsed and fainted in a meeting.

The drama unfolded a day after the school management asked some of the teachers to consider shifting from teaching upper primary classes to lower primary classes as the upper primary section of the school was overstaffed while the lower primary was understaffed.

A female teacher who is about to go on retirement became the centre of attention when she resisted the move.

She was allegedly considered as one of the stronger candidates for lower primary as she has experience in teaching lower primary learners and has qualifications in both upper and lower primary.

Other teachers accepted the change and shifted to their new classrooms, however this specific teacher refused to go back to work and opted to stay put.

According to Sakaria Eelu, principal of the cluster centre that covers Kandjengedhi Primary School, he was called for an urgent meeting at the school as teachers needed his intervention.

The school management had allegedly convened an urgent meeting after the teachers in question started to demand copies of the Grade 7 schedules.

"The school principal was allegedly not at school at the time, thus the HoD asked the teacher to wait for the school principal to return.

"When the school principal came back, the teacher allegedly made the same demands - she however refusd to give her reasons why she wanted to make copies of the schedules. Schedules are confidential documents of the school, and she can't just make copies if she does not give valid reasons. That was the reason why the school principal decided to call the management meeting to explain," said Eelu.

While in the meeting, the woman allegedly made a phone call asking someone to come to the school. A few minutes later a journalist of a tabloid newspaper arrived at the school. A second journalist also came to the school moments later.

While still trying to deliberate on the matter, the older woman allegedly collapse, resulting in the meeting ending prematurely. The ambulance was then called to the school and she was rushed to Oshakati State Hospital.

"We seriously doubt that she fainted because when she was taken from the school she seemed unconscious. Some teachers followed her immediately to the hospital and she was already seated. When did she regain her consciousness?" asked one of the teachers.

Eelu said the problem at Kandjengedhi school has come a long way, as a few teachers have tried to resist the moves towards improvement of the young female school principal who has only been at the school for about four years now.

Although all teachers at the school later came on board in support of the school principal, the older teacher seemed to be the only one who was unhappy with the change.

"It difficult to measure this school's perormance, since it only goes up to Grade 7. However, notable positive changes at the school include general cleanliness of the school, improvement in school facilities, and sudden interest in the school by the community which shows that something positive is happening at that school. Kandjengedhi used to struggle to have learners, but nowdays they are turning learners away, which shows that the community has developed confidence in the school," said Eelu.

When contacted for comment, Oshana Regional Director Dute Shinyemba said the recent conflicts at Kandjengedhi were not reported to her office, maintaining that the school must have resolved its problems on its own.

She also confirmed that generally there were some teachers who wrote letters to the regional office as they were not happy with the younger school principal's leadership.

"We investigated and we found out these things were pure allegations - people were simply not happy with working according to the ministry's policy," said Shinyemba

The school principal herself refused to comment, maintaining that she is not allowed to talk to the media, before referring this reporter to Eelu.

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