Ohangwena overcoming teachers’ exodus

Tuyeimo Haidula
The Ohangwena education directorate has struggled to retain teachers in the region due to lack of proper teaching facilities and conducive environments, but this will soon be a thing of the past.

This according to education director Isak Hamatwi, who said the situation - which has been persistent over the years – may have had a negative impact on learner performance.

On Wednesday, the Oshikunde education office was finally officially inaugurated, having been unoccupied for two years due to a lack of furniture. Staff had been operating from the constituency councillor’s office.

Retiring Oshikunde inspector of education Penehafo Haidula - who was the first female inspector in Ohangwena when she was appointed at Okongo circuit in 2004 - said she was so eager to make a difference in the lives of a Namibian child that “the harsh conditions in the region were the least of my worries”.

“We need to work together and all systems should be involved in order for us to win this fight. Traditional leaders need to be engaged to educate their subjects on the importance of schooling and no child should be kept at home and denied the basic human right,” she stressed.

Lack of services

Hamatwi said the circuit was established to cut down on the distance teachers and principals in the Oshikunde constituency are forced to travel.

“We brought services closer to the people in terms of educational administration services. This also means that the circuit serves as a channel communication for the schools without having to travel the directorate office in Eenhana to lodge complaints which can be solved at the circuit level,” he said.

He admitted that the region has struggled to retain some of its teachers due to lack of proper classrooms, adequate furniture, availability of water and electricity - all important elements that contribute to the delivery of quality education.

The region has a severe lack of classrooms and furniture at some of its 273 schools. And to make matters worse, the existing classrooms are overcrowded.

The situation in these classrooms are not conducive to learning and teaching because depending on the weather, learners are often exposed to wind, heat, rain and cold, Hamatwi said.

He added that the region still makes use of 596 corrugated iron classrooms.

Recruitment slows to crawl

Yesterday he told Namibian Sun via telephonic interview that it’s obvious that in an environment that is not appealing, people will move from where they do not have necessary services. In 2020, the region announced 187 teaching vacancies.

Hamatwi quickly added that teachers leaving the region for greener pastures will soon be history.

“Evidently so, recruitment is no longer rampant as it has been in the past. There are few teaching posts coming in the system. For example, in 2022, we have only received 20. The only posts coming up are those being left by retirees or due to death and these will not stay open as the market is saturated with qualified teachers in all phases,” he said.

He said working in rural areas requires patriotic people who believe in what they do.

It’s not all lost, though, he said, adding that the education ministry has some “really great staff who still believe in patriotism and choose to stay and impart their skills on their communities”.

The Oshikunde office will serve 23 schools within the circuit.

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Namibian Sun 2023-05-29

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