Namibia: Pandemic Adds to Coastal Schools' Woes

7 August 2020

Walvis Bay — Public primary schools in Swakopmund and Walvis Bay are under pressure as they have to find alternative ways to accommodate new enrolments for grades zero and one.

The lack of classrooms at the two coastal towns has been a growing problem, however, with the uncertainty around school resumption, how new learners in the entry grades would be accommodated has become of great concern for both parents and teachers.

Erongo education director Erenfriede Stephanus said schools are not allowed to keep waiting lists as it creates unrealistic expectations for parents.

"We need new schools in Swakopmund and Walvis Bay as we are sitting with a situation that continues to grow every year and additional classrooms put more pressure on the existing school structure," she explained.

The schools started yesterday with the enrolment of grade zero and grade one learners with some having less than 100 spaces for intakes for both grades.

"Schools should only hand out the exact number of application forms for spaces available," she said in a guideline to various schools for the enrolment process.

Tutaleni Primary School yesterday indicated that it only has 150 spaces available for grade one. Principal of the school Joseph Damaseb said that forms were handed out on a first come, first serve basis and that they expect parents to return the forms at Walvis Bay.

Kuisebmond Primary School on Wednesday indicated it will not enrol any learners for grade one this year due to a lack of space. However, it only had a limited number of spaces for grade zero learners yesterday.

Some of the parents New Era spoke to yesterday said they had slept in front of the schools to secure a place for their children.

One of the parents, Aina Jakobus, said she knew it would be difficult to enrol her daughter due to the coronavirus.

"We don't know what will happen as the children definitely did not go to school this year and they cannot also be promoted just to create space for our children," she said.

Johannes Esau also said he was worried about the state of education, especially in Walvis Bay as coronavirus has disrupted everything. "School is always a problem in Walvis Bay but now we have a bigger problem and hope that the government can build more schools especially in Walvis Bay," he added.

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