Namibia: 8 000 Pupils Not Yet Placed in Schools

AS the new academic year starts, some desperate parents scrambled to find places for their children in Windhoek yesterday.

The placement of pupils in schools has proved to be challenging for Grades 1, 8 and 10 over the years.

According to the education ministry's public relations officer, Absalom Absalom, 8 808 pupils are yet to be placed countrywide.

"We have 783 pupils waiting to be placed in pre-primary, 3 777 in Grade 1, 4 179 in Grade 8 and 69 in Grade 10," he said.

He attributed the annual placement scramble to the migration of pupils from rural to urban areas.

"The movement of parents from one place to another especially to cities and towns, influenced by multiple fac-tors such as employment and relocation, has a significant impact in the demand as it is perceived that education in urban areas is more advanced," he explained.

Absalom added that application duplication is among the causes for the placement problem.

"Some parents still seek for placements at a number of preferred schools, although the same pupils are admitted or enrolled at other schools without notification of acceptance," he said.

Absalom said other reasons are delayed applications; repeating grades; and lack of infrastructure.

He said the regions have indicated that they have over 16 790 spaces available at schools: "Pre-primary 3 577; Grade 1, 8 705; Grade 8, 3 722; and 786 in Grade 10. This indicates that the number of available spaces is higher than the number of pupils still not placed. From this, most certainly every pupil will be placed," said Absalom.

He said the line ministry will ensure that every pupil who has not been placed yet, gets a placement and subsequently accord every Namibian child an opportunity to get education.

Absalom said statistics show that a total of 171 483 pupils have been placed across phases.

"At least 36 342 pupils have been placed in pre-primary; 69 131 in Grade 1; 53 133 in Grade 8 and 12 877 in Grade 10," he said.

He further encouraged parents and guardians to visit admission points in all the 14 regions and submit names of their children, contact schools and the directorates of education in the respec-tive regions for guidance.

During a visit to the Teachers' Resource Centre in Windhoek yesterday where parents flocked to find last minute placements, distressed parents and guardians expressed confusion over the placement process.

Caught up in the annual race to find a place for her child, Magano Moono (39) said there was no proper coordination between the schools and the resource centre.

"Many parents went to the schools. There they were told to come to the resource centre. Here they are telling us to go to the schools, what must we do now?" she asked.

Moono is looking for a Grade 8 placement for her child who was at school at Gobabis and now has to move to Windhoek due to her work transfer.

"Three years ago, I applied for a Grade 1 placement. I came to the resource centre and was put on the waiting list. After two days on the waiting list, they called me to say my child was accepted into a school.

"Right now they are telling us that they no longer have a waiting list. It is all a bit confusing," she said.

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