Namibia: Oshikoto School Closes Due to Low Enrolment

25 February 2020

A school in Oshikoto region suddenly closed its doors on Valentine's Day due to low enrolment. Deputy education director Vilho Shipuata confirmed the new development to New Era, saying for many years, Ekaha Primary School has been enrolling few learners, which led to them gradually phasing out of some grades.

Ekaha was built close to three decades ago, and it has three classroom blocks to accommodate learners from grade 1 to 7. At the beginning of the year, the school only enrolled 17 learners in two grades. These learners will now be transferred to nearby schools.

According to Shipuata, parents were told to move their children to surrounding schools, while teachers were transferred to other schools. "Allegations that the school closed down due to finances are false; the school didn't have issues with finances but low enrollment, and we made sure the two remaining teachers got transferred to other schools," explained Shipuata.

When asked if they hope the school will be revived again, the deputy director said they have no hope since the area does not have enough learners and the school needs full classrooms for it to operate. Maria Uusiku and Johanna Shifotoka were the two teachers who initially remained at the school and have since been moved to Onuuya and Oniiwe primary schools.

Talking to New Era, Shifotoka said even though she was moved to another school, her permanent position at that school is not guaranteed. "We were only told to choose schools of our choice but we are not sure if we are permanently employed since we didn't sign any contract with the school," said the grade 1 teacher.

Uusiku, who was also unhappy with the situation, said the closing down of the school caught them off guard because they were told the school would close in 2021.

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