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‘Our learners are going to return as orphans from holiday’: Caley

Summary

The Deputy Minister of Education, Arts and Culture, Faustina Caley, expressed concern over the possible adverse psychological effects of the prolonged holidays on learners forced to stay at home because of escalating cases of COVID-19.In a recent inter…

The Deputy Minister of Education, Arts and Culture, Faustina Caley, expressed concern over the possible adverse psychological effects of the prolonged holidays on learners forced to stay at home because of escalating cases of COVID-19.

In a recent interview with Nampa, the minister said they fear that the current rise in COVID-19 deaths will leave a lot of children orphans and unable to return to school, while those who manage to return will need counselling and psychological support.

“Our fear is that many of our children are going to return as orphans from this holiday. We must consider the fact that with the rising deaths more and more of our learners are burying parents, guardians and close relatives. So we have to put measures in place to ensure that we have support services available for them when they return,” Caley said, adding that learners will further return to school to find that they have lost teachers and even schoolmates.

She said the government is strongly considering engaging psychologists and called on well-wishers to assist the government in this respect to avert the adverse effects on learners.

The ministry in the meantime is preparing life skills teachers, some of who are trained to offer such services, to ensure that learners are offered support once they return. They will further engage the Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare and other government institutions with social workers and phycologists for extra support on the challenge.

“Our concern is especially with the learners who will be writing external exams. We have to target them to see how we can support them because it is going to be very difficult for them and you cannot expect a child who just buried her parents to properly prepare and write such a big exam without support,” Caley highlighted.

In the same vein, the Namibia National Students Organisation (NANSO) spokesperson Esther Shakela said they are cognisant of the toll the pandemic is taking on many learners and students countrywide, noting that the student body has a psychosocial support unit that provides assistance to those who need it.

She said NANSO also has a toll-free line struggling students can call for support.

“We also have a centre which offers support to students in need. Due to limitations on gathering the centre is not functioning to its full capacity, but we have that support available and students are encouraged to use it,” Shakela said.

Source: Namibia Press Agency