19 April 2018

Namibia: Unfavourable Conditions Hinder Performance At School

Othimbika — The lack of classrooms, coupled with the shortage of a teacher, has affected the quality of teaching, learning and performance of learners at Oshana Primary School in Onyuulaye Circuit in the Oshikoto Region, according to a teacher at the school.

Rauha Amushila, a Grade 1 and Grade 2 teacher, said the school is in urgent need of a lower primary teacher and proper classrooms.

She elaborated that teaching two combined grades hinders the quality of teaching, learning and the performance of learners, especially the slow learning leaners.

"This combination affects the performance of learners because you can't reach everyone. Those who are slow already will just getting worse. So, due to their ages we end up [promoting them to the next grade] that's why you could find someone in Grade 7 who can't read and write properly," stressed Amushila.

She added that time management is also a concern when teaching combined grades as she ends up teaching fewer subjects and not giving enough attention to all learners. Apart from teaching combined grades, the school is also faced with the lack of proper classroom as many are made out of corrugated iron sheets, a situation which leaves learners and teachers vulnerable to bad weather conditions such as wind, rains and cold. The school has only one block of brick structure consisting of two classrooms. Adverse weather forces teachers to stop teaching or to cancel classes. Amushila said numerous promises to address the situation, including one by the circuit inspector, came to naught.

"There was a nice response and we were even told to identify the site where the building will be erected - but it was all empty promises," she recounted. The school was founded in 2002 and has from Grade 0 to 7. It has a learner population of 210 and eight teachers. Approached for comment, the Director of Education Lameck Kafidi said teaching combined grades and the lack of proper classroom is not new to the ministry of education, as this system existed since 2001. "Is that news? I have schools with combined grade of about 50 and 60 leaners and 540 shacks. We call them sheet rooms, so that is not news to me or to staff members or to the ministry of education and to everybody else," claimed Kafidi.

*Petrus Nehale is an intern at the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology in Oshikoto Region.

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