More primary schools needed for Otjomuise
Windhoek schools are bursting at the seams as the 2022 academic year gets under way.
12 January 2022 | Education
Over 50 grade zero and grade one learners have been left stranded in the Otjomuise residential area of Windhoek as the two only primary schools in the area have reached their learner capacity intake for the 2022 academic year.
Otjomuise is home to the fastest growing informal settlements, 8ste Laan and 7de Laan, where many parents cannot afford to take their children to schools elsewhere because of financial constraints.
Schools opened on Monday and parents could be seen in long queues desperately attempting to secure enrolment for their children for the new school year.
Speaking to Nampa on Monday, Otjomuise Primary School principal Awie Saal said although the ministry has issued a directive saying no learner should be excluded or rejected during the 2022 academic year, the unavailability of space is due to limited school infrastructure.
He noted that the area only has two primary schools, although the school uptake numbers continue to increase annually, noting that his school has six grade one classes with a capacity of 240 learners. However, due to a lack of space and an influx of learners, it currently has 336 grade one learners.
“Every year there is an influx of learners from this area and every year we accommodate learners beyond our capacity. It is really time for government to plan for another primary school in Otjomuise to accommodate these parents. Sometimes it is really difficult to convince a parent that there is no space and as a father and principal, there is nothing I can do,” he said.
Saal further noted that in order to ensure that every learner is admitted, schools were expected to send their admission intake to the education regional directors for further placement purposes by 15 January.
Michelle McLean Primary School principal Nadia Lizazi said the school has also reached its maximum capacity of 1 174 learners, noting that new learners can only be accommodated if older learners are removed from the school, such as when their parents are transferred due to work and the family has to relocate.
Lizazi noted that although some schools around Windhoek might have space, parents are not willing to take their children to schools situated far from their homes. She added that there is a need to construct hostel accommodation for schools around Otjomuise, such as those west of Windhoek in Windhoek Rural.
“During our annual principal meeting, it was observed that schools in Windhoek Rural have fewer learners and if perhaps accommodation is available at these schools, learners who do not get admission elsewhere can utilise the existing infrastructure which currently is not utilised optimally.”