22 January 2019

Namibia: More Tent Classrooms Expected in Khomas

The Khomas regional education office has revealed that 707 pupils out of 865 have not yet been placed and that more tent classrooms are likely to be set-up to accommodate them.

In an interview with The Namibian on Friday, Khomas regional education directorate Gerard Vries said the region has resorted to placing pupils in tents to address the shortage of classroom spaces in schools.

He also said there was a dire need of the eight secondary schools and four primary schools that were proposed to be built in the region in 2014.

Although the 2019 academic year has already kicked off, many parents are still running around in search of places for their children who are in need of Grades 1, 8 and 11 in Windhoek.

Vries confirmed that there is still an influx of new pupils being enrolled at schools and the ministry is doing everything it can to ensure all pupils are accommodated.

He said the ministry decided to provide tents to be dispatched around some schools in Windhoek to avoid overcrowded classrooms.

One classroom was opened at Cimbebasia Primary School to accommodate Grade 1 pupils while at some schools learners will be taught in afternoon sessions.

"We have already delivered some tents to be erected at various schools to accommodate Grade 1 and 8 pupils. These are some of the measures we have undertaken. This also creates an additional constraint for chairs and desks and the necessity to appoint additional teachers. We are asking parents to be patient. Khomas already made arrangements last year to place pupils. We want to place everyone, but we must do it systematically," Vries said.

He said they are not turning away any pupils, despite them not being registered on the waiting list for placement. According to him, another issue that made the placement exercise difficult was the fact that many pupils who were in Grade 8 last year failed and therefore had to repeat, taking up spaces for those coming from primary schools.

In 2018, Grade 8 had 6 613 learners, and 4 853 learners were promoted to Grade 9, and 1 761 pupils were not promoted while Grade 9 had 4 838 pupils, 3 719 learners passed and 1 119 pupils who failed were not promoted.

"Those are the ones causing a problem for Grade 9 because they are holding up spaces for learners coming from Grade 7 and 8," he said. He explained that those who failed Grade 10 would have to do the new curriculum going back to Grade 9.

"If you fail Grade 10, you have to go back to Grade 9 and do the new curriculum, but that does not mean you are losing out on two years like the perception of many people, but just the year you failed because the curriculum is now ending at Grade 11 for those that will do ordinary level," Vries explained. Grade 11 will offer a certificate that will admit pupils at some tertiary institutions, but learners who want to continue their education at universities will be required to continue with an advanced subsidiary in Grade 12.

He said so far, Grade 1 placement statistics stand at a total registration of 540 learners out of the number of 143 learners who have not been placed.

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