114 learners in a class

Schools at Rundu are severely overcrowded and under-resourced.

12 March 2019 | Education

Ndama Combined School, situated in Rundu's Ndama informal settlement, is faced with multiple challenges, especially overcrowding, including one class having 114 learners.

The school has only seven toilets for 2 247 learners and two reserved for teachers, which are only used for emergencies as the septic tank fills up in a single day.

Namibian Sun visited the school yesterday and also observed a lack of furniture and ablution facilities, with learners having to relieve themselves in the bushes inside the school premises.

Concerned community members informed Namibian Sun about the situation at the school and have called for a better learning and teaching environment.

Ndama Combined School was established in 1978 and is among the best government schools in the Kavango East Region, despite its multiple challenges.

School principal Fillipine Munkanda acknowledged the challenges.

She said 2 247 learners were enrolled this year in grades four to nine.

Munkanda said overcrowding was a major concern.

She said some learners had to sit on the floor and write on their laps, while others shared chairs or desks.

“We have a serious issue of overcrowding in our classes, like for example in the grade 8C class there are about 114 learners. The grade 8E class has about 91 learners. The lowest number of learners in a class at our school is 58,” Munkanda said.





The reason why the grade 8C class has 114 learners is because there are not enough Rumanyo language teachers, and all the grade 8 learners doing the subject were placed in one class, she said.

The education ministry's staffing norm is one teacher per 30 learners.

Munkanda also explained the lack of ablution facilities, saying the school had only four toilets for female learners, three for male learners and two for teachers.

She said all nine toilets were connected to one septic tank, which is emptied once a month.

Munkanda said due to the high pupil population, the septic tank filled up in a single day.

“If we decide to leave the toilets open at all times, the septic tank will be full in one day and remain blocked until it's emptied after a month. This is why we have decided that the ablution facilities will only be used during times of emergency,” she said.

Namibian Sun also observed some learners making use of the bushy area within the school premises when nature calls. This is not far from the area where the school feeding scheme cooking takes place.

Other challenges include a lack of teaching materials, no school hall, no library, no laboratories and a confined administration block.

Asked whether these issues were reported to the regional education directorate, Munkanda said they had, but not much action had been taken.

She said the school management will visit the office of Kavango East education director Fanuel Kapapero soon to engage him.

Munkanda said the school had constructed a number of temporary structures, which would be used as classrooms in order to alleviate the overcrowding.

Attempts to get comment from Kapapero yesterday proved futile, as his cellphone went unanswered.

He said in an earlier interview on Friday that overcrowding was a major concern in the region.

Kapapero said more than 60 000 learners enrolled in schools in the region this year, with 30 000 of them based at Rundu.

“If you look at the number of learners in schools just in Rundu alone, it's a lot, and that is why I said we need more schools to be constructed in the region,” Kapapero said.

Namibian Sun understands that most of the schools in the Rundu circuit have about 2 000 to 3 000 learners each.

KENYA KAMBOWE

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