New Era (Windhoek)

19 February 2013

Namibia: Tempers Flare Over High Failure Rate

Windhoek — Okakarara residents are up in arms demanding the immediate removal of the Okakarara Secondary School principal whom they blame for the high failure rate at the school last year.

Last year only 10.5 percent of learners passed Grade 10 and to make matters worse only one Grade 12 learner got 25 points to qualify for university admission, but unfortunately the male learner died during the festive season.

Now the community is fed up and last Friday they handed a petition to the office of the regional council demanding the axing of Okakarara Secondary School principal Charles Ngozu and his staff.

Elia Kandjii, the community chairman, said it is "unfortunate the only learner who passed Grade 12 last year passed away".

"And that left the constituency without any one coming from a formal school system in the area, going to any higher institution of learning."

Kandjii said residents of Okakarara met on January 31 and were mandated to form a committee to act against the non-performing school management.

The community feels there is a high degree of 'ignorance' on the part of the education regional office, which coupled with poor school management exacerbates the situation.

They also charge there is a lack of cooperation among the school staff and that the current school board is "defunct".

Further, they attribute the high failure rate to hostel staff lacking supervision, the automatic promotion of learners, and alleged lack of commitment from teachers, parents and learners.

They also listed a lack of respect and no interaction between learners and teachers, as well as the use of cellphones during school hours as factors that "distract" both teachers and learners during classes.

However, they are now demanding that the school and hostel management be reshuffled with immediate effect and also that a new school board be elected..

"We want a good working relationship between parents and the school. We want a performance and monitoring committee established for all grades that will be rectified by the regional office," they demanded.

Ngozu acknowledged the school's poor performance and said he was willing to accept the people's choice.

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