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Learners face uphill education battle in Oshikoto

Dilapidated walls sparks safety concerns
From crumbling and unsafe classrooms to foul-smelling pit latrines, overcrowding and a lack of textbooks, teachers at Engoyi Combined School say they do their utmost to still provide learners with a quality education. 
Kenya Kambowe
A school located in Engoyi village in the Oshikoto Region is facing serious structural issues, with classrooms and toilets displaying significant cracks on the walls.

Teachers and learners said they fear the walls will collapse, potentially risking their safety.

During a recent visit to Engoyi Combined School, Namibian Sun observed the dilapidated state of the school.

Additionally, the pit latrines, in use for decades, emitted a significant stench.

The school was established in 1979.

According to school principal Mirjam Ndaoya the school offers grades zero to nine and has enrolled 514 learners for the academic year.

Safety a serious worry

Ndaoya stressed the run-down state of the classrooms, which are on the verge of collapse, and said the infrastructure is old.

“You can see for yourself that those cracks on the wall are big, and they are all over,” she said while showing this reporter around the crumbling structures.

A teacher from the school argued that, based on the state of the infrastructure, one could refuse to teach in an environment that is not safe, but there is not much they can do about it.

‘Unbearable’ conditions

Another challenge the school faces is overcrowded classrooms.

Ndaoya revealed that a grade six class has about 54 learners, which exceeds the government's recommended ratio of one teacher to 35 learners.

She explained that overcrowded classrooms do not allow for the effective implementation of the learner-centred teaching approach.

This has also led to some teachers being unable to assign homework to learners. Due to multi-grade teaching, they have to mark hundreds of submissions within a short period, all while recapping the previous day's work. Teachers find this situation unbearable.

“Teachers want to give homework, but they cannot do that because they will have a lot of books to mark, and even if they do, sometimes there is no time to mark, and when a learner realises that teachers don’t mark their books, it demoralises them from doing it the next time,” the principal explained.

At the moment, the school also requires a new structure for a Grade 2 class.

Although a teacher has been appointed for the class, the current facilities cannot accommodate them. Consequently, the school is planning to raise funds to construct a corrugated iron structure to address this issue.

Additionally, during the visit, this reporter noticed some learners without a complete school uniform, with most of them in need of school shoes.

Smelly toilets

One teacher informed Namibian Sun that due to the poor state of the school's toilets, both teachers and learners are discouraged from consuming liquids to avoid using the facilities.

“Even if you want to use the toilet and we direct you to them, you might want to drive home and go use a toilet there,” a teacher remarked.

The school has only had pit latrine toilets since its establishment in 1979, and the smell emanating from them is noticeable from a distance.

Lack of furniture

Ndaoya also said the school is in dire need of school furniture.

With broken chairs and tables on the school premises, Ndaoya said the school welcomes anyone who can assist in fixing them.

The school also needs a printer and teaching materials.

Ndaoya explained that, currently, only teachers have textbooks; therefore, they are required to write summaries on the chalkboard or make copies, a situation that could have been different if learners also had access to the material.

She emphasised that, despite the challenges faced, the 23 teachers and supporting staff are nevertheless doing their best to provide quality education to the learners.

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Namibian Sun 2024-04-25

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Nam 2.22 SAME | Oryx Properties Ltd 12.1 UP 1.70% | Paratus Namibia Holdings 11.99 SAME | SBN Holdings 8.45 SAME | Trustco Group Holdings Ltd 0.48 SAME | B2Gold Corporation 47.34 DOWN 1.50% | Local Index closed 677.62 UP 0.12% | Overall Index closed 1534.6 DOWN 0.05% | Osino Resources Corp 19.47 DOWN 2.41% | Commodities: Gold US$ 2 326.08/OZ UP +0.42% | Copper US$ 4.51/lb UP +1.59% | Zinc US$ 2 860.10/T UP 1.92% | Brent Crude Oil US$ 88.03/BBP UP +0.04% | Platinum US$ 903.48/OZ UP +0.15% Sport results: Premier League: Manchester United 4 vs 2 Sheffield United | Everton 2 vs 0 Liverpool | Crystal Palace 2 vs 0 Newcastle | Wolves 0 vs 1 Bournemouth | Arsenal 5 vs 0 Chelsea LaLiga: Sevilla 2 vs 1 Mallorca SerieA: AC Milan 1 vs 2 Inter Milan | AS Roma 1 vs 3 Bologna European Championships Qualifying: Coventry City 2 vs 3 Hull City | Leicester City 5 vs 0 Southampton | Middlesbrough 3 vs 4 Leeds United English Championship: Coventry City 2 vs 3 Hull City | Leicester City 5 vs 0 Southampton | Middlesbrough 3 vs 4 Leeds United Weather: Katima Mulilo: 15° | 34° Rundu: 15° | 34° Eenhana: 15° | 35° Oshakati: 17° | 34° Ruacana: 17° | 35° Tsumeb: 18° | 33° Otjiwarongo: 14° | 31° Omaruru: 17° | 34° Windhoek: 15° | 29° Gobabis: 17° | 31° Henties Bay: 15° | 21° Wind speed: 22km/h, Wind direction: S, Low tide: 10:02, High tide: 04:02, Low Tide: 22:08, High tide: 16:27 Swakopmund: 15° | 16° Wind speed: 27km/h, Wind direction: SW, Low tide: 10:00, High tide: 04:00, Low Tide: 22:06, High tide: 16:25 Walvis Bay: 15° | 23° Wind speed: 35km/h, Wind direction: SW, Low tide: 10:00, High tide: 03:59, Low Tide: 22:06, High tide: 16:24 Rehoboth: 16° | 31° Mariental: 19° | 32° Keetmanshoop: 19° | 32° Aranos: 20° | 33° Lüderitz: 14° | 25° Ariamsvlei: 18° | 31° Oranjemund: 14° | 21° Luanda: 26° | 29° Gaborone: 18° | 31° Lubumbashi: 12° | 26° Mbabane: 15° | 20° Maseru: 12° | 26° Antananarivo: 14° | 26° Lilongwe: 14° | 27° Maputo: 20° | 27° Windhoek: 15° | 29° Cape Town: 16° | 24° Durban: 18° | 23° Johannesburg: 18° | 25° Dar es Salaam: 23° | 26° Lusaka: 18° | 29° Harare: 15° | 29° Economic Indicators: Currency: GBP to NAD 23.72 | EUR to NAD 20.36 | CNY to NAD 2.62 | USD to NAD 19.01 | DZD to NAD 0.14 | AOA to NAD 0.02 | BWP to NAD 1.34 | EGP to NAD 0.39 | KES to NAD 0.14 | NGN to NAD 0.01 | ZMW to NAD 0.72 | ZWL to NAD 0.04 | BRL to NAD 3.72 | RUB to NAD 0.21 | INR to NAD 0.23 | USD to DZD 134.23 | USD to AOA 834.06 | USD to BWP 13.85 | USD to EGP 47.85 | USD to KES 134.48 | USD to NGN 1277.03 | USD to ZAR 19.01 | USD to ZMW 26.3 | USD to ZWL 321 | Stock Exchange: JSE All Share Index 74513.94 Up +0.68% | Namibian Stock Exchange (NSX) Overall Index 1545.38 Up +1.53% | Casablanca Stock Exchange (CSE) MASI 13281.24 Up +0.26% | Egyptian Exchange (EGX) 30 Index 25917.59 Down -3.21% | Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) DCI Same 0 | NSX: MTC 7.75 SAME | Anirep 8.99 SAME | Capricorn Investment group 17.34 SAME | FirstRand Namibia Ltd 49 DOWN 0.50% | Letshego Holdings (Namibia) Ltd 4.1 UP 2.50% | Namibia Asset Management Ltd 0.7 SAME | Namibia Breweries Ltd 31.49 UP 0.03% | Nictus Holdings - Nam 2.22 SAME | Oryx Properties Ltd 12.1 UP 1.70% | Paratus Namibia Holdings 11.99 SAME | SBN Holdings 8.45 SAME | Trustco Group Holdings Ltd 0.48 SAME | B2Gold Corporation 47.34 DOWN 1.50% | Local Index closed 677.62 UP 0.12% | Overall Index closed 1534.6 DOWN 0.05% | Osino Resources Corp 19.47 DOWN 2.41% | Commodities: Gold US$ 2 326.08/OZ UP +0.42% | Copper US$ 4.51/lb UP +1.59% | Zinc US$ 2 860.10/T UP 1.92% | Brent Crude Oil US$ 88.03/BBP UP +0.04% | Platinum US$ 903.48/OZ UP +0.15%