Parents beg for school placement

OLUKONGO LWOOSIKOLA … Engungo lyaavali olya holoka pombelewa yelongo moshitopolwa shaKhomas, mOmaandaha, okukongela aanona yawo mboka inaaya mona oosikola. Ethano: Selma Iyambo

Crowds of desperate parents gathered at various Windhoek schools yesterday seeking placements for their children.

In Windhoek, throngs of parents and guardians gathered at the Khomas education regional directorate to secure space for their children.

The schoolyear began yesterday, but some parents say their children still haven’t been placed, despite rushing to schools as early as 06h00.

Education directors have confirmed this.

Executive director of education, arts and culture Sanet Steenkamp yesterday said pupils on waiting lists for school placement will receive communication from regional offices.

“Many parents have not received placements for their children. Every region will communicate and gather the names of children on the waiting list,” she said.

Regional offices will then proceed with verification, whereby government officials will physically go to schools to count the number of Grade 1 pupils to determine duplicate registration.

Steenkamp said the ministry recently concluded the construction of 537 classrooms and 77 sanitary stations over a period of five months for the 2023/24 financial year, which cost N$225 million.

She said some schools at Walvis Bay and Swakopmund will be ready to open by mid-year.

While some parents await communication from the regional office, Khomas parents flocked to the Teachers’ Resource Centre at Katutura and the education regional office yesterday.

Resource centre manager Errikson Shilemba, however, said the centre only deals with the placement of Grade 8 pupils from the Khomas region.

He said they were referring teachers to the regional office to seek placement letters, and are urging parents to seek placement for other grades at the schools of their choice.

STILL WAITING …Pupils and parents at Olof Palme Primary school in Katutura queued up yesterday hoping to get placement for 2024 school year. Photo: Puyeipawa Nakashole

FRUSTRATION

The regional education office was yesterday filled to capacity with frustrated parents and guardians seeking clarity regarding the placement process.

Ndiina Andreas was looking for placement for her child in the Khomas region after relocating from the Hardap region, despite hearing that priority would be given to Khomas pupils.

“My child’s education is hanging in the balance. She earned excellent results in Grade 7 and is now in need of a school closer to me,” she said.

Khomas education deputy director Paulus Lewin was on the ground communicating with parents. He confirmed that priority will be given to pupils from Khomas.

“The office is only dealing with placement for pre-primary school, grades 1 and 8,” he said.

Windhoek parent Zemburukee Katuuo joined the long queue at Olof Palme Primary School at Katutura from 06h00 yesterday, hoping to find space for his seven-year-old daughter.

“I have been here since early morning, but until now we have not been assisted.”

He said he was hoping she would be placed in Grade 1 at the school because she would be taught in her home language, Otjiherero.

A frustrated Laurencia Gawases said she took a few hours off work to stand in the long queues, with little progress.

“They should have sorted the placement at least two days before the actual day . . ,” she said
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The placement of pupils is equally challenging in the Erongo region, Erongo education director Erenfriede Stephanus yesterday said.

However, the directorate is actively working on constructing a secondary school at Walvis Bay, with plans for a primary school delayed due to a land issue, she said.

“Those are the pupils we are going to accommodate through a platoon system,” Stephanus said.

At Swakopmund, where two schools are in the pipeline, the secondary school is awaiting the completion of “levelling the surface”, while construction of the primary school is set to start soon.

Children awaiting space there will be accommodated in afternoon classes for the time being.

The directorate was due to have a meeting to get exact information on the ground yesterday afternoon, Stephanus said.

“We are finalising the waiting list,” she said, adding that accurate figures should be available today.

‘TOO EARLY’

The office of the Khomas education directorate told The Namibian it is too early to share the number of pupils still requiring placement in the region.

Meanwhile, in the //Kharas region, education director Jasmine Magerman said she does not expect an uncontrollable influx of pupils and parents at schools, because the ministry had constructed additional classrooms.

She said 13 new classrooms were built in the region as senior secondary and combined schools required 17 new classrooms in 2022.

Pre-primary schools required 10 classrooms and primary schools 44 classrooms.

Last year, the region had 211 pupils on a waiting list for which new primary classes were opened at Mina Sachs Primary School.

A new primary school was also opened at Vaalgras, and the Anglo-American Namibian Foundation donated two classrooms to Oos-terheim Combined School.

Towns facing a large influx are Keetmanshoop and Lüderitz, said Magerman.

Lüderitz circuit inspector Casius Shanyengange on Friday said parents were queuing up because they did not apply in advance.

Oranjemund and Aussenkehr also require new primary schools.

Magermann said no pupils will be left out, despite placement challenges due to last-minute enrolment.

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