Schools are not day-care centres

Onankali-The recent poor academic end-of-year performance at many schools resulted in the education circuit inspector for Okankolo appealing to teachers, school principals and school board members not to let schools be administered like day-care centres.

"School board members and principals should take the responsibility of making sure their schools are run efficiently, are effective and perform well in all aspects. We cannot afford to run schools as if we are operating day-care centres - this must stop," said Okankolo educational circuit inspector, Sophia Fredericks.

Fredericks made the remarks on Tuesday at a gathering where a review of Grade 10 results was made, which aimed at analysing the circuit's performance regionally and nationally.

This comes after years of struggle in which the Okankolo circuit has been performing poorly, which has seen it mostly at the bottom of the list of the eight circuits in Oshikoto Region. But last year it improved its results and is currently ranked fourth with the first spot taken by Onyaanya, followed by Onathinge, and Onkumbula at third spot.

"The circuit's performance has been very worrisome and of great concern, hence the reason why last year we had set standards for ourselves on how we can improve our performance. We managed to climb from the usual performance ranging in the 50 percent to 70.01 percent in 2016, which was due to intensified teaching during holiday classes, motivational speeches, award ceremonies, examination moderation as well as results analysis of each term," stressed Fredericks.

She explained that the results analysis serves as a mirror which helps the circuit know what it is capable of doing and achieving.

Okankolo consists of 28 schools of which 526 learners sat for the Junior Secondary School (JSC) exams and 369 made it to Grade 11, which translates to a 70.1 percent pass rate, although this was below the set target of 443 learners passing, which would have been a pass of 84.2 percent.

"Despite that improved performance we are still faced with another challenge this year because the number of learners increased drastically to 528, which mean we have to come up with other strategies to keep up and improve. Therefore this event lays a platform that will enable us to find ideas so that we can maintain good practices and set appropriate strategies to overcome the shortfalls. Reviewing the results gives us a picture of how the end of year performance will look like, therefore this will assist us to remain focused and determined, while enhancing our understanding. Such occasions foster collaboration among stakeholders to engage and work together for a common goal," explained Fredericks.

The need to solicit new strategies was also echoed by the councillor for Omuntele, Sacky Nangula, who insisted an academic turnaround strategy is urgently needed and should be implemented soonest if the circuit is to maintain its position on the move to number one.

In support of this view was the councillor for Omuthiya Constituency, Samuel Shivute, who warned learners against engaging in early sex which leaves them vulnerable to pregnancies.

"I have noted a number of shortcomings which normally affect performance of learners among our communities, such as language barriers in schools, absenteeism by learners and teachers, lack of commitment among teachers, as well as poor monitoring systems by school management committees. All these are factors contributing to poor performance," said Shivute.

Furthermore, he said the lack of parents' involvement in their learners' school activities and their presence at spaza shops also hinder progress.

Source: New Era Newspaper Namibia