Behind Oshigambo High School’s success

IN PROGRESS … A Grade 12 physics class at Oshigambo High School.

Oshigambo High School consistently reigns supreme in Namibia’s academic landscape – both regionally and nationally.

Last year the school secured the top spot among private schools in the Namibia Senior Secondary Certificate Ordinary (NSSCO) level, while ranking fourth nationally at the Advanced Subsidiary Level (NSSCAS).

This 64-year-old institution in the Oshikoto region even grabbed the seventh position among schools countrywide at NSSCAS level in 2023.

Three pupils from Oshigambo High School were listed among the top 20 best-performing pupils in six subjects at NSSCO level.

In 2022 the school had five pupils among the top 20.

Principal Pinehas Ekongo attributes this remarkable achievement to the hard work and unwavering commitment of both students and staff members.

He says all 68 Grade 12 pupils qualified for tertiary education, while all 72 Grade 11 pupils qualified to advance to Advanced Subsidiary (AS) level in 2023.

Ekongo says the school currently has 70 pupils in Grade 12 and 86 pupils in Grade 11, with a total of 464 pupils and 20 teachers.
All pupils are accommodated by the school’s hostel.

Twamanguluka Iileka, a teacher at the school, says the school does not focus on non-academic activities.

“The pupils get social time, but we prioritise academics. When it comes to schoolwork, it’s serious business.

Another thing that helps us is that we are technologically advanced,” she says.

She says all the classes have smartboards, screen projectors, whiteboards, speakers and visualisers and pupils have access to the internet.

The majority have their own laptops, she says.

“Being a top-performing school makes us proud,” Iileka says.

She says the school also offers remedial and support classes.

“Last year, when pupils had weekends off, we never allowed them and we had to give them extra classes,” she says.

Iileka says admission to the school is based on pupils’ performance on a school entry test.

“A lot of pupils apply to our school because of the school’s performance,” she says.

Applications open in August every year, she says.

Another teacher and member of the school’s management, Lukas Haitota, attributes the school’s performance to its values and commitment.

“Our pupils are told what is expected of them at the beginning and are promised, for instance, N$10 000 in cash if they make it to the top 20 in the country,” he says.

He says the teachers are self-driven and work hard for promotions.

“The teachers want to dominate the regional awards held every year,” Haitota says.

Pupils and teachers nominated for these awards are treated to a trip before attending the event, he says.

This he says instils positive competition among teachers and pupils.

“Every morning we remind our pupils of what we expect of them. Being a top-performing school over the years in the country and regionally keeps us motivated,” Haitota says.

The school offers evening, weekend and holiday classes, he says.

“This is a common practice. We do not give Grade 11s full holidays. Same with recess – our pupils stay at school,” he says.

EXTRAMURAL ACTIVITIES

Pupils play soccer, games on smart boards, chess and quizzes to take their minds off the books.

Haitota says they are allowed to own music devices, excluding phones, to unwind with after studying.

He says pupils’ spiritual well-being is also nurtured through compulsory church services every Sunday, with a pastor providing them with counselling.

SECURITY

The school has 24-hour surveillance cameras installed at its gate and in each classroom.

Haitota says security and deterring any potential misconduct are paramount.

“The pupils know they are under 24-hour surveillance. Even us teachers know and we are used to that now,” he says.

He says romantic relationships among pupils are discouraged.

“We encourage them to see each other as brothers and sisters, however it is hard to eliminate it to zero since they are teenagers,” he says.

Haitota says the school has a student portal where parents are kept updated on their children’s progress at school.

Before the schoolyear commences, the school conducts an orientation exercise during which Grade 8 pupils are familiarised with teachers, what is expected of them, the environment, rules and practices at the school and how to use the technological devices in classrooms.

Oshigambo High School is owned by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Namibia and is situated approximately 26km east of Ondangwa.

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