A beacon of hope

Tsintsabis Combined School produces its own food through aquaculture and gardening, including tilapia fish, maize, spinach, tomatoes, beans, onion and carrots.

23 January 2020 | Education

The Tsintsabis Combined School's feeding programme has received resounding support from stakeholders since its implementation in 2004, acting principal Christalina Narubes said.

During an interview at the school over the weekend, Narubes applauded members of the community for volunteering to prepare meals for learners.

She also acknowledged the contributions of government and corporates to the feeding programme.

Narubes said government contributes maize to the school, while Namibia Free Caterers/Tulipamwe donates a weekly consignment of vegetables and Tsumeb-based Dundee Precious Metals donates a monthly food voucher worth N$800.

“Last year, we were fortunate to receive a one-tonne donation of fish from a fishing company at the coast and we have been preparing this high protein-concentrated diet for our children,” she said.

She added that the feeding programme encourages children from the marginalised San community to attend school.

Tsintsabis Combined School also produces its own food through aquaculture and gardening, including tilapia fish, maize, spinach, tomatoes, beans, onion and carrots.

In addition to helping with the preparation of meals, members of the community volunteer their labour for the school's projects.

“Our fish farming produces enough fish for the feeding programme and to sell to the local community, which helps to generate revenue for the maintenance of project,” Narubes said, adding that the school implemented the two projects so that it does not rely solely on handouts.

She explained that only 86 learners accommodated in the school hostel are not catered for by the feeding programme.

“They (hostel learners) cannot benefit twice, as they receive food in the hostel,” Narubes said.

Situated in Oshikoto's Guinas Constituency, 62 kilometres north of Tsumeb, Tsintsabis Combined School has over 795 learners from pre-primary to Grade 9, as well as 25 teachers.

It was established inside the military barracks of the then colonial administration by current Guinas Constituency councillor Betty Kaula in 1993. Back then, it catered for 135 San children.



Overcrowded

The school, which caters for pre-primary to Grade 9 this year enrolled a total number of 795 learners compared to 759 in 2018 and 733 in 2019.

Narubes told Nampa on Tuesday that the classrooms are overcrowded this year, due to the fact that it is the only school in Oshikoto that offers Khoekhoegowab as a medium of instruction.

Khoekhoegowab, she said, is a language well-understood by the San community.

“We used to have one group per grade previously, but now we have more groups of learners per grade, due to an increased learner population this time around,” Narubes said.

She explained that the school this year has the following grade groups: Two groups each for pre-primary, Grade 5 and Grade 6 and three groups each for grades 1, 2, 3 and 4.

“It is only in grades 7, 8 and 9 where we have one group per grade, but they are many in a classroom,” Narubes said, adding that there are 43 learners in Grade 7, 46 in Grade 8 and 38 in Grade 9.

According to her, 17 learners have been placed on the waiting list for Grade 8.

“However, we are grateful that our regional director of education has recommended that the Khoekhoegowab language be introduced at another school in the region, Tsumeb Secondary School, as from this year,” she said.

In 2018 the school phased out Grade 10, its former highest grade, due to the ongoing implementation of the new education curriculum in the country.

NAMPA

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