Namibia: Khomas School Placements Begins

WHILE some schools in Windhoek still had places open yesterday, others said they had reached their full capacity.

Some, like the Hermann Gmeiner Primary School had already reached their capacity yesterday, despite having 165 pupils on their waiting list.

The principal, Maureen Gottlieb, said they are fac-ing challenges with placing pupils.

She said there are more than 45 pupils in each class in all grades at the school.

"We are facing a serious problem with enrolment, especially of pupils coming from private schools where parents can no longer afford the fees and are now looking for government schools to enrol their children," said Gottlieb.

She said the school has only placed less than 10 pupils since Monday.

"We don't have space, but we tell parents to write down their name in case some of our [old] pupils do not come back," she said.

Head of department at Acacia High School, Sabina Sebis said they currently do not have any places at the school.

"We are just waiting for parents who applied at the regional office. It those people do not come in by Friday (tomorrow), only then will we know if we have space," she said.

She attributed the lack of space in the school to the high rate of Grade 8 failures last year, saying more than half the grade failed.

"Many of them failed because of the new curriculum. The workload was too much for the children and the work covered for the year is a lot," she said.

Head of department and Grade 8 head at Dawid Bezuidenhout High School in Windhoek, Selma Iiyambo said parents have been coming to the school for placements since Monday.

She said many pupils scrambling to find places now either did not apply last year or applied but were not accepted into any school. She said some do not know which schools they were placed into by the regional offices.

Iiyambo said they have many pupils who have not accepted the offer or con-firmed placement that was allocated to them by the regional offices. She said as a result, the school is unable to determine the number of spaces they have available for placement.

She said approximately 100 pupils were placed at the school late last year by the regional offices.

"We sent out letters last year informing them that they were placed by the region but they have not showed up. We are still sitting with half-full classes waiting for some pu-pils to come," Iiyambo said.

"A number of parents have come here saying their child has not been placed anywhere, but have not gone to the regional offices to in-quire," she continued.

Iiyambo said most pupils looking for placement are in Grade 8.

A pupil who preferred to remain anonymous said she had to find placement as she was unable to get her report due to non-payment of fees at her previous school.

She was able to find a place on her first attempt at Dawid Bezuidenhout High School for Grade 11.

Head of department at Jacob Marengo Senior Second-ary School, Herbert Schultz said the placement is going well, although he predicted having overcrowded class-rooms as a result of the inflow.

He said the school has places and made it clear that everyone is welcome.

"We are a community-based school, meaning we taking anyone of any age. We groom those who are not necessarily seen as top performers," he said.

Jacob Marengo Senior Secondary School had four pupils in the top 10 performing pupils in the Khomas region in 2019.

Khomas education regional director Gerard Vries said he would only respond to questions via email late yesterday.

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