PM concerned about squatting

The prime minister is concerned about a lack of hostel facilities, which leads to rural children living on their own in towns.

28 January 2019 | Education

Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila has instructed deputy education minister Anna Nghipondoka to visit schools countrywide to see how they are coping with the revised grade 10 curriculum.

Schools have been urged to give grade 10 learners priority when it comes to hostel placements at all government schools.

They were also urged to squeeze more learners into hostel rooms to make sure that more learners are accommodated.

Nghipondoka visited Andimba Toivo ya Toivo Senior Secondary School at Ondangwa on Wednesday.

Nghipondoka's visit came a few days after Namibian Sun had reported that some parents were accusing the school of denying grade 12 learners hostel accommodation in order to accommodate more grade 10 and 11 pupils.

The deputy minister said she was happy to learn that the school was ensuring that the majority of grade 10 learners were accommodated in the hostel.

Andimba School principal Walde Shapaka told Namibian Sun that the school used to have 60 grade 10 learners, but this year it has enrolled 215 learners.

He said the school has over 1 000 learners but the hostel capacity is only 560. Out of the 215 grade 10 learners, 158 are in the hostel.

In grade 11 the school has 262 learners, of whom 170 are in the hostel; while in grade 12 there are 371 learners of whom 210 are in the hostel.

“The purpose of my visit to this school was mainly to look at how they are coping with the grade 10 curriculum reform, especially with the issue of learners staying outside and those staying in hostel.

“Learners renting or squatting at the age of 16 or 17 is a great concern for us because they are too young,” Nghipondoka said.

“This is a concern for the education ministry and it is also a concern to the prime minister.”

Nghipondoka said during her school visits she had observed many problems relating to accommodation for learners.

Some are living on their own, either in rented accommodation or squatting in informal settlements, which is dangerous for young children.

“At your school 57 of your grade 10 learners are not in hostel. These learners can fall victim to evil acts such as rape.

“One day in a shack for a 16-year-old girl is a risky day for her and we do not want such things to happen,” she said.

When Nghipondoka visited the hostel she found out that it is underutilised.

Shapaka said he was following the ministry's guidelines on room occupancy.

“Your hostel capacity is full, but there is still space in the rooms, add more beds,” Nghipondoka urged him. “Nowadays in Namibia we don't talk about capacity any longer. If you say your hostel capacity is only so much, we are talking about space. Many of the rooms can still add more learners,” she said.

There are many unused beds at Andimba School, but according to Shapaka there are no mattresses.

Nghipondoka advised that parents be asked to provide mattresses for their children.



ILENI NANDJATO

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