Pupils live like married couples

13 March 2019 | Education

A lack of hostel and family accommodation has resulted in Omungwelume Senior Secondary School learners cohabiting like husband and wife.

“Parents have sent their learners to school but here they are 'married' in shacks where they are staying. There is no one to control them since they are not living within the school,” school patron Kleopas Kapweya told Namibian Sun.

Concerned parents say Ohangwena is vast and the non-boarding school is taking in learners from all corners of the region - a situation that forces learners to take any available accommodation.

Grade 10 learners from as far as Okongo, Oshikunde, Epembe, Omundaungilo, Omauni, Ekoka and many other far-flung places are renting at Omungwelume to attend school.

The regional education directorate, however, says it visited the school a few weeks ago and that such claims were never reported.

Kapweya said at the weekend he had made a section of his mahangu field available a few years ago for the construction of hostel, which is yet to be constructed.

“Omungwelume location does not give a good environment for learners to live or stay on their own. Learners come from far places to a school that does not have hostel. They are now squatting in a location, and that is where they are staying to attend school, and we are not happy with the way we are seeing them behave here,” Kapweya said.

Schools have been urged to prioritise grade 10 learners when it comes to hostel placements at all government schools. The challenge now is the non-boarding schools, as they have nowhere to accommodate learners.

At the beginning of the year, Namibian Sun reported that Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila had instructed deputy education minister Anna Nghipondoka to visit schools countrywide to see how they are coping with the implementation of the revised grade 10 curriculum.





About 118 grade 10, 11 and 12 pupils from Omungwelume Senior Secondary School are being accommodated at a homestead following an instruction from Ohangwena governor Usko Nghaamwa.



Aina Haifiku from Ongenga said her child, who is in grade 12 this year, had been renting accommodation last year and she was not happy with stories she used to hear about him.



“People from Omungwelume used to call and tell me whenever they see him doing wrong things. I did not feel at peace. The challenge is that controlling them is difficult because they are on their own. This year he get a space in a house we heard was bought by the regional council, and it is now better because there are caretakers in the house.”



Omungwelume resident Johanna Undjombala said they have noticed how learners are behaving, as they are living on their own. She said they are misbehaving and abusing alcohol.



Another concerned parent, Boas Mwapopi, said that the situation was a major concern.



“The regional directorate of education needs to review its placement regulations. They must avoid sending learners to extremely far schools that have no hostels. At least they must make sure that learners get schools closer to their families,” Mwapopi said.



“Another challenge is that children of nowadays are ill-disciplined and one cannot attempt to talk to them, even if you see them doing wrong.”



When contacted for comment, Ohangwena education director Isak Hamatwi said he visited the school and accessed where these learners were staying, but he was never told about the issue of learners 'cohabitating'.



“I have no idea about the situation of learners' cohabitating. I visited Omungwelume and I am aware of where they are staying, but not about them cohabitating,” said Hamatwi.



Hamatwi said Omungwelume Senior Secondary School is facing just the same situation as many other schools in the north-central regions.

“Money remains a critical resource to tackle their problems of hostel construction, as the directorate does not have money. The directorate ensured that learners have spaces to attend lessons and parents remain responsible to secure spaces for their children's accommodation. It is quite a worrisome situation, but then what shall we do without money to construct hostels?” Hamatwi added.

ILENI NANDJATO

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