Swakopmund — Additional classrooms are currently being constructed at Swakopmund and Walvis Bay to accommodate about 1,800 Grade 1 learners that were placed on a waiting list last year, after they could not be accommodate at primary schools at the two coastal towns.
Learners were placed on the waiting list due to a shortage of space last year,
The two coastal towns face challenges in terms of Grade 1 placements yearly, but were thrown a lifeline this year by the government that availed financial assistance to construct 15 classrooms.
Walvis Bay will receive eight classrooms and Swakopmund seven, although the buildings are unlikely to be ready this week. Public schools reopen for the first semester of the year today, countrywide.
The total number of learners enrolled for Grade 1 at Walvis Bay stood at 2,260 in December, while about 1,200 could not secure space at the 10 primary schools at the town.
Swakopmund itself could only place 1,018 learners while a further 620 were placed on a waiting list.
The education ministry says it will by all means try to accommodate the learners who are on the waiting list of Walvis Bay, in four classrooms that were constructed last year after Namport availed N$610,000 to assist with relieving the shortage of classrooms.
Education inspector for the Walvis Bay circuit, Monica Gawises, yesterday told New Era that the construction of the classrooms already started last week at the project school behind Tutaleni Primary School.
She also indicated that the construction of seven classrooms at Swakopmund will start once the contractor is done at Walvis Bay. The classrooms will be constructed at Hanganeni Primary School.
Gawises added that they will first try to accommodate all the learners that are currently on the waiting list before they accept any new applications for Grade 1.
"Even the learners currently on the waiting list have to be divided so that some attend school in the morning and some in the evening, so that we make sure that all learners have access to education," Gawises explained to New Era yesterday.
Gawises earlier also indicated that the intake of Grade 1 learners from private pre-primary schools is much lower than the previous years, due to the fact that primary schools offer compulsory pre-primary classes and should ensure that those learners, alongside those failing Grade 1, also be accommodated.
According to her, five of the primary schools at Walvis Bay cannot enrol any new learners as they have to accommodate their pre-primary learners as well as make way for some of the afternoon learners who will attend Grade 2 this year.
"This is a huge concern for the ministry and that is why the ministry is calling upon the municipalities of Walvis Bay, Swakopmund and Henties Bay to provide land to the ministry free of charge, so that more schools can be constructed," said Gawises.