Few learners lead to Oshana school closures

Home National Few learners lead to Oshana school closures

OSHAKATI – The acting regional director for education in Oshana region, Hilma George-Nuunyango, says they have shut down five schools due to low learner numbers.

George-Nuunyango, in an interview with Nampa on Friday, revealed that the closures occurred over 20 years from 2010 to 2022.

She identified the schools as Ongako Junior Primary School (JPS), Ekuwa JPS, Andambombali JPS, Uupeke JPS and Ondjongolume JPS. According to George-Nuunyango, these closures were due to the low learner population, with pupils being relocated to other nearby schools.

“The Ondjongolume and Ekuwa Junior Primary School are currently closed and not in use, while Ongako is being utilised by the Ministry of Health and Social Services as an Outreach Centre,” she explained.

She further said Andambombali and Uupeke are both serving as centres for the ministry’s adult education programme.

Approached for comment, the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture’s Executive Director, Sanet Steenkamp, explained that over the past five years, they have been assessing unviable schools in rural areas where the pupil count does not justify the school’s operation. She noted that a school must have a minimum of 35 pupils to remain viable.

“If there are only 50 or 70 learners, we still need to have fully appointed teachers, which is not economically viable. Consequently, more educational spaces are created in urban areas as parents request schools there,” she said.

Steenkamp added that the decision to close a school is complex, often resulting in teacher transfers to other schools, while pupils are accommodated in hostels or by their parents. She emphasised that considerations such as access, quality, and teacher-pupil ratios are made before such decisions are taken.

Steenkamp further highlighted that school closures due to low enrolment occur across all regions. -Nampa