Pupils enjoying ‘Project Schools’

With only the finishing touches to the last of 30 'Project Schools' classrooms still to be done in Walvis Bay and Swakopmund, nearly 1,000 Grade 1 'overflow' learners have already started to enjoy the shiny new facilities.

With 24 classrooms in both towns having been completed since construction started at the beginning of the year a further six classrooms are expected to open their doors by the end of the month. 'Project Schools' have become the pride of the education ministry in Erongo, to answer to the call of building additional classrooms in both coastal towns. It is an effort to absorb the overwhelming number of Grade 1 enrolments that flood the coast at the beginning of each year. Commenting on the success of the project, Charles Neidel (control administrative officer overseeing 'Project Schools'), says learners who otherwise couldn't be placed in schools have now been settled into regular morning classes. The new classrooms are cheery, all fitted with desks and chairs and have newly appointed teachers. Each one can accommodate up to 40 learners.

The N$7-million budget provision received from the government started the ball rolling in January, with the 'Project Schools' being constructed at a fast pace in both coastal towns. And with enrolments for 2019 starting this month, the ministry is bracing itself.

Erongo education director John /Awaseb confirmed recently that enrolments for grades 1 and 8 pupils at Swakopmund and Walvis Bay schools continue to increase annually, challenging classroom space.

The Erongo Region was very challenged by the shortfall in Grade 1 classrooms for the start of the year, but with the 'Project Schools' development, the ministry remains hopeful that every child will now get a place, commented Awaseb, adding that they had to allocate the 'overflow' learners to various schools by opening afternoon classes.

A total of 12 new 'Project Schools' classrooms have been built behind the Tutaleni Primary School in Kuisebmond, with more reaching completion. Namport also came to the rescue and built four extra classrooms. Furthermore, nearly a dozen classrooms have sprung up in Swakopmund on the erf next to Hangeneni Primary School. Additionally four classrooms have been built for pre-primary learners at Festus Gonteb Primary and are just waiting for their desks and chairs before the doors open.

The ministry, however, wishes to expand the 'Project Schools' module in both towns as more funds become available, by adding more classroom blocks to ultimately turn this project into fully fledged schools with ablution and admin facilities.

The director attributed the influx of learners to Swakopmund and Walvis Bay to people moving to the coast in search of employment, mostly at the mines, and fishing factories, with the high standard of education at the coast also being a drawcard.

Source: New Era Newspaper Namibia