Scammers targeting desperate parents

Theresia Goagoses

Some Walvis Bay residents say they have been scammed out of money by individuals claiming to help them secure placement for their children in grades 1 and 8.

The parents were, disappointed when the 2024 schoolyear started.

Hilaria Jonas says she has paid N$1 400 for each of her two children to be enrolled in Grade 8, but ended up losing her money.

“I paid money to an individual in October, who told me she could get space for my two children. I tried to call the number several times last week, but it went unanswered.

“In the meantime, I found out there was indeed enough space for Grade 8 pupils, as a new school was built at Narraville, and that my daughter could attend there. One of my children had to return to Windhoek, as there is still space there,” she says. Jonas says some of her friends were complaining about the same issue. They visited the office of the circuit inspector and were informed to be vigilant, she says.

Jason Paulus says he was desperate to have his daughter enrolled in Grade 1. “She is on a waiting list. We approached the regional office at Swakopmund and were told to enquire at the circuit inspector’s office at Walvis Bay.

“Meanwhile, someone informed us there is a man in the community that is working with a teacher at one of the local primary schools.

“The man asked me for N$600. I said it was a bit too much, and he lowered the price. I did not make the payment yet, as I wanted to find out if there is another way to handle the issue,” he says.

Walvis Bay circuit inspector Theresia Goagoses on Saturday said she has heard the rumours and cautioned people to be on the alert as some people are taking advantage of the pupil placement situation.

“The minister keeps talking about this issue. People are dressing up and acting as teachers and scamming others. Nobody should pay anyone outside school premises.

“Receipts are issued for any payment made to schools for any reason. Parents know it is a corrupt practice, but they risk losing money, while at the same time risking their children not getting placement.

“Everybody knows there are scammers,” she said. Goagoses said it was disappointing that parents do not cooperate when placement for an academic year is planned, and as a result create panic at the beginning of the schoolyear.

“Parents picked up forms for Grade 8 in July, and never returned them. Last Monday they came with the forms to the circuit office.

“Parents are not cooperative. We had different meetings for Grade 7s at different primary schools last year. We also made announcements at different radio stations, because we saw that some pupils were not placed.

“We were worried and informed parents to come to the cluster centre to apply for the new schoolyear to minimise running around,” she said.

Parents were informed at the beginning of the year that a new secondary school was built at Narraville, that would help with the issue of school placement, especially for Grade 8 pupils, while a new senior primary school will be built soon to help with the issue of space for Grade 1 pupils. A platoon system was also introduced at !Nara Primary School for Grade 1 pupils and High Hope Primary School, which would help with space for Grade 1 pupils.

“Parents were informed to visit the office of the inspector in case of enquiries, but instead trusted those who were busy with corrupt practices,” Goagoses said.

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