Same old, same old

Discomfort is a fact of life for learners at Nkurenkuru Combined School in Kavango West, where a lack of furniture means they either have to stand or sit on the ground during classes.

24 January 2020 | Education

At Nkurenkuru Combined School in Kavango West Region, learners are being taught under trees, seated on the floor or standing for hours due to a lack of furniture.

During a visit to the school, Namibian Sun observed a newly completed four-classroom block without a single piece of furniture.

At around 09:00, learners appeared tired and uncomfortable and demanded that the education ministry look into the situation with urgency.

Namibian Sun established that the few learners with chairs brought them from home.

“When you come to school, you suffer by sitting on the floor, and walking back home, you think about the suffering.

The next morning on your way to school, you are thinking about how you are going to suffer again,” a learner said. Some of the learners travel about 15 kilometres to school.

One of the teachers said it is difficult to teach learners in such an environment.

“The learners are forever tired and their concentration levels are very low. They don't want to take notes, not because they are rebelling but they are not in a comfortable situation. We are appealing that our government looks into our situation.”

Another teacher, who instructs learners under a tree, said they really need the situation to be addressed as they are exposed to a number of distractions, including rain.

“The reason why we are outside is because there is no classroom that is vacant and now imagine what will happen if the rain starts to pour. We will be forced to seek hiding wherever we can and the class will be interrupted. Now tell me, is it fair?” the teacher asked.

According to principal Frans Ngoma, enrolment of learners is still ongoing. The school has, thus far, enrolled a total of 1 310 learners.

The school has 40 teachers, while the learner-teacher ratio stands at 50 to 60 learners per teacher.

Ngoma, who described the situation as 'unfortunate', said these issues have plagued the school for many years and worsen each year.

He attributed the challenges to the increase in population in Nkurenkuru, saying that each year, the number of learners enrolled increases because of the demand for school placement.

“Nkurenkuru Combined School is at the centre of town and with the population increasing, it makes it worse for our school. People are coming to town either after having secured employment or seeking for jobs and in the process, they bring their children with. We also cannot deny a child access to education,” he said.

Ngoma added that their concerns are known by the Kavango West Region education directorate.

“All these years, we have been submitting our needs to the regional office and they have assisted where they can, I must say, but our challenges remain a stumbling block to providing quality education,” he said.

Ngoma pointed out that the school needs four classrooms, an administration block, 701 chairs, 702 desks, teaching and learning materials as well as stationery.

In an interview with Namibian Sun, Kavango West Region education director Teopolina Hamutumwa said she will not deny what is happening at the school.

She however pointed out that these challenges are not “as critical” as those experienced at several schools in the region.

Hamutumwa said that for the 2019/2020 financial year, the Kavango West East Region education received a budget of N$55 million, of which N$11 376 000 was directed towards the development budget.

She said N$2.5 million will be used for renovations while N$8.9 million will be used for basic facilities.

Hamutumwa said only schools in dire need were prioritised.

“As for Nkurenkuru Combined School, we know of their situation but because of the limited funds, the focus was on schools which are in dire need. It is unfortunate that the situation is like that,” she said.

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