Urban schools swamped

Urban schools swamped

EDUCATION Minister Nangolo Mbumba has pleaded with parents to be patient, as his officials are working around to clock to find places in schools for children. Mbumba said towns around the country were swamped with Grade One, Eight and 10 pupils looking for places, with overcrowding the order of the day, while schools in rural areas experienced the opposite.

“If your child’s school of choice is full, there will always be a place available at some or other school, whether it is at a school in another town or region, even if it is not your school of choice,” Mbumba said. “In life, we do not always get what we want.”He said it was important that all pupils were admitted to schools to enjoy their constitutional right to education while the Ministry continued to address the unequal distribution of resources in the regions to improve education.Officials of the Ministry said they had to act within budget constraints and thus could not ensure enrolment for all candidates.They said migration of students from other areas to Windhoek had contributed to the extraordinary swell in numbers.The problem was exacerbated by a number of people from neighbouring states who wished to enrol their children in Namibian schools, they said.The Ministry of Education would allow another 15 days to accommodate as many students as possible, although it could not promise that it would be able to accommodate all of them.In a worst-case scenario, the Ministry would implement double sessions in which classes would be conducted in the morning and afternoon to accommodate all students.The system would require the employment of more teachers, or the transfer of teachers from schools where there was over-staffing in order to ensure some equity in pupil-teacher ratios.In the Erongo Region, most of the principals approached for comment said their schools are jam-packed and they were forced to refuse any more applications.Waiting lists are growing longer by the minute, but those candidates will only be considered if some enrolled pupils do not show up for school.More children are expected to turn up once the problem with the lack of transport from the North is solved.At primary schools in Erongo, Grade One classes seem to be filled beyond capacity.In some instances, an additional first-grade class had to be created to accommodate those who are beginning their school career this year.The Inspector of Education in the Swakopmund circuit, Mark Jacobs, yesterday confirmed that there are no places left for Grade Eight pupils in Swakopmund or Walvis Bay.He said many more Grade One students applied than there is room for in schools at the coast.The possibility of afternoon classes for Grades Eight and One is being investigated, he said.All Grade 11 learners who applied were accommodated.The Inspector for the Omaruru circuit, Angeline Steenkamp, said the situation at Omaruru, Usakos, Karibib, Uis and other towns in the area was under control.A shortage of classrooms in Karibib was addressed by making two prefabricated rooms available.A more detailed analysis of the situation in the Erongo Region will be available by next week.”In life, we do not always get what we want.”He said it was important that all pupils were admitted to schools to enjoy their constitutional right to education while the Ministry continued to address the unequal distribution of resources in the regions to improve education.Officials of the Ministry said they had to act within budget constraints and thus could not ensure enrolment for all candidates.They said migration of students from other areas to Windhoek had contributed to the extraordinary swell in numbers.The problem was exacerbated by a number of people from neighbouring states who wished to enrol their children in Namibian schools, they said.The Ministry of Education would allow another 15 days to accommodate as many students as possible, although it could not promise that it would be able to accommodate all of them.In a worst-case scenario, the Ministry would implement double sessions in which classes would be conducted in the morning and afternoon to accommodate all students. The system would require the employment of more teachers, or the transfer of teachers from schools where there was over-staffing in order to ensure some equity in pupil-teacher ratios.In the Erongo Region, most of the principals approached for comment said their schools are jam-packed and they were forced to refuse any more applications.Waiting lists are growing longer by the minute, but those candidates will only be considered if some enrolled pupils do not show up for school.More children are expected to turn up once the problem with the lack of transport from the North is solved.At primary schools in Erongo, Grade One classes seem to be filled beyond capacity.In some instances, an additional first-grade class had to be created to accommodate those who are beginning their school career this year.The Inspector of Education in the Swakopmund circuit, Mark Jacobs, yesterday confirmed that there are no places left for Grade Eight pupils in Swakopmund or Walvis Bay.He said many more Grade One students applied than there is room for in schools at the coast.The possibility of afternoon classes for Grades Eight and One is being investigated, he said.All Grade 11 learners who applied were accommodated.The Inspector for the Omaruru circuit, Angeline Steenkamp, said the situation at Omaruru, Usakos, Karibib, Uis and other towns in the area was under control.A shortage of classrooms in Karibib was addressed by making two prefabricated rooms available.A more detailed analysis of the situation in the Erongo Region will be available by next week.

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