Overcrowding a Headache for Authorities in Zambezi

PARENTS in the Zambezi region have raised concerns about the overcrowding of learners at different public schools in the rural and urban districts of the Zambezi region.

Some parents who spoke to Nampa during the first day of the school calendar for 2015 yesterday, attributed the overcrowding of learners as the root cause of the high failure rates experienced.

The learner-teacher ratio in Namibia is 1:35, however some schools have recorded as many as 44 learners in one classroom.

According to Gertrude Silibaiba, a mother of a Grade 3 learner at Liselo Combined School, overcrowding has been a yearly occurrence that is yet to be addressed by the education directorate in Zambezi.

“Overcrowding in classrooms affects the learning ability of children as teachers cannot cope. The annual enrolments at schools have left teachers with as many as 44 learners at one time. As a parent, I wonder how my child is being taught under such stressful circumstances,” Silibaiba said.

However, Liselo Combined School principal, Shadrack Mowa told Nampa that overcrowded classes at his institution are not a crisis, as the teachers are able to manage.

Mowa said the only classroom space proving a challenge is the pre-primary level, which normally takes 25 children below the age of five years.

Currently, 37 learners are enrolled in this grade. In Grade 10, about 40 learners can be admitted but only 37 have been registered.

“The sitting capacity in some classes is manageable but in another cases it is a concern. The names of learners who we could not accommodate, were put on a list to be sent to the directorate who will find space for them at other schools,” Mowa said.

At Masokotwani Combined School, acting principal Maurice Simenda said the Grade 10 class ballooned to 46 this year, compared to 30 in 2014.

Simenda said the lower primary, which is made up of Grade 1 to 4, is overcrowded as there are 204 learners registered.

“Our Grade 10 enrolment went up because we re-registered our previous learners who failed to attain the pass mark in 2014. The Grade 8 classes are also full because we had to register those from neighbouring schools who do not have the higher grades.

Ngweze Secondary School principal Grace Mahoto said her school enrolment stands at more than 756.

Mahoto said Grade 9,10 and 12 are full, while Grade 8 learners are still registering as many were provisionally admitted based on their Grade 7 October results for 2014.

“The sitting space is unbearable in some cases but we will make the best of the situation. We cannot turn children away, except those wishing to repeat Grade 10 but are now over the age of 17. – Nampa

Source : The Namibian