The Namibian (Windhoek)

6 February 2013

Namibia: Otjomuise Project School Overcrowded

PARENTS living in the informal settlements of Otjomuise are finding it hard to find school placement for their children, as the only school in their neighbourhood, the Otjomuise Project School, is bursting at the seams and can't accommodate all pupils in the area.

The situation of parents in the poor neighbourhoods of Sewende and Agste Laan has been exacerbated following the introduction of free primary education this year, where even those who previously could not afford to send their children to school have grasped the opportunity with both hands.

Parents in the area insist on enrolling their children at the Otjomuise Project School and refused to leave the school premises yesterday.

"They have promised us to wait until today [yesterday]. This is my third day here and now they are telling us there is no space. We also want our children to go to school," said Petra Kolman.

"We came here five o'clock in the morning and we have been told to wait. Now they are telling us there is no more space for our children. I am not leaving here until my child is admitted," another parent complained.

The school has now resorted to offering afternoon sessions to cope with the high numbers of pupils.

The acting principal of the school, Helga Kaimbi, said they tried to accommodate all the children but the demand is too high.

"The school has four classes per grade and we went to a maximum number of admitting 44 learners per classroom," she said.

"We wanted to stop at 42 pupils per class but we are forced by circumstances and we went out of our way and added two more per class. I really feel for the parents but there is just no space," Kaimbi said.

According to Kaimbi some parents fail to inform them in advance that their children have received placement elsewhere and thus they wait for three weeks before admitting other pupils in their place.

"The first four grades have a high demand considering that the school still has space to accommodate 20 more pupils for grade six and seven," Kaimbi said.

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