Government Closed 18 Schools

GOVERNMENT has closed down 18 schools and merged others in the past four years after numbers of pupils had dwindled because of the nomadic nature of their communities and floods.

Responding to a question in the National Assembly on Thursday by Congress of Democrats president Ben Ulenga, the Minister of Education, David Namwandi, said of the 18, one was a secondary school. He also said the State has, in the same period, opened 54 primary schools and six secondary schools.

Ulenga asked Namwandi over the closure of Oshikomba Primary School in Oshikoto Region and the minister said the school which was established in 1992 with about 80 pupils, was closed in 2012 due to a low enrolment. “Most schools in Kavango Region were small centres meant to cater for nomadic communities, children of cattle herders, or for very young learners who would otherwise find it difficult to attend other schools because of floods or terrain,” he said.

Namwandi said sometimes learning centres are only operated during the rainy seasons and pupils joined others when water subsided. He further said these operate like satellite schools.

“Some were closed because of lack of learners, shrinking population, or parents decided to move learners elsewhere,” Namwandi explained, adding that some schools were merged resulting in one school’s de-registration.

“It benefits the ministry in that the resources are pooled together to cater for a large community. In this case, there would only be one principal instead of two and teachers can be utilised across the phases optimally,” he said.

Namwandi provided a table of statistics that showed that enrolment at the school ranged from 46 in 2004, 44 in 2005, 46 in 2006 and 42 in the following two years. Then it went down to 36 in 2009 27 in 2010 and 11 in 2013.

Namwandi said closure was also caused by the location of the school which was in a flood-prone area. He said the school’s infrastructure will now be used for community meetings and adult literacy classes.

The minster also informed fellow members of parliament that the Education Act is being reviewed.

“The working group has been formed and some ground work has been done. Wider consultations with regional participants will be done as well,” he said.

The Namibian reported last year that nine regions in the country need about 55 schools to clear the classroom backlog.

The Ministry of Education said there are 1 723 schools countrywide and of these 119 are private schools while 26 schools and four hostels are currently under construction countrywide.

Khomas Region needs 18 new schools Ohangwena needs eight Kunene and Otjozondjupa need six each while Omaheke needs four schools. Hardap needs three Erongo five Zambezi three and Karas needs two schools.

The ministry said that it costs between N$38 million and N$120 million to build a school depending on whether it is a boarding or a day school.

Source : The Namibian