Govt to address school hostels shortage – PM

Home National Govt to address school hostels shortage – PM

WINDHOEK – Following media reports saying many learners lack hostel accommodation – a situation compelling learners to rent shacks near schools, government will intervene and address the shortage of hostels.

On Wednesday, New Era reported that about 70 percent of learners enrolled at Omuthiyagwiipundi Senior Secondary School reside in rented corrugated iron zinc shacks at the town’s sprawling informal settlement of Kaniita and the nearby village of Oshimangwa.

 Many of these learners are from far-flung areas hence they are forced to seek accommodation elsewhere when enrolled at the school, which is without a hostel facility and these learners do not have parental guidance.
Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila stated government has noted that despite the measures taken, several challenges are still being encountered in the various regions. 

Construction of additional classrooms and basic education facilities, additional teachers, science kits, textbooks and training of Namibia Senior Secondary Certificate Ordinary (NSSCO) teachers.

She said some of the challenges reported are as a result of government through the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture’s introduction of changes to the school system which started in 2012 as a result of the 2011 National Conference on Education.

These changes included the review of the basic education curricula, changes to basic education structure, introduction of technical subjects at senior primary level, review of language policy for schools and the promotion policy for all phases, as well as introduction of basic pre-vocational skills course.  

Other changes included the phasing out of Junior Secondary Certificate National Examinations, introduction of semi-external examinations at the end of Grade 9, phasing out of the Namibia Senior Secondary Certificate Higher (NSSCH) and introduction of the Namibian Senior Secondary Certificate Advanced Subsidiary (NSSCAS) level course.  
She noted the focus on the review of the curriculum was the phasing out of Higher International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) HIGSE.

“The removal of Grade 10 from Junior Secondary to Senior Secondary schools resulted in some learners who were relocated to the Senior Secondary schools unable to find accommodation in the hostels,” she said. 
Equally, she maintained insufficient class rooms resulting in overcrowded class rooms, while some learners are taught under structures that are unsuitable for effective learning.  

“These matters are receiving government’s attention. The Minister of Education Arts and Culture toured the regions over the past few weeks to study the situation on the ground and government will announce additional measures to be undertaken to deal with the remaining challenges as raised by the community,” she said.

Further, she assured the government is committed to ensure that all leaners that require space in schools are placed and all efforts will be made in making this a reality. 

She also said government continues to welcome inputs from stakeholders on the process of implementing the new curriculum.  

The current basic education changes have been rolled out in schools since 2014. The curriculum for the Junior Primary phase (Grade 4-7) was revised and implemented by 2016.  

The curriculum for the Junior Secondary phase (Grade 8-9) was revised and implemented by 2017 and 2018. The technical subjects are now part of the Junior Secondary curriculum.  

The revision of the Senior Secondary phase started in 2016 and the revised curriculum for the Namibian Senior Secondary Certificate Ordinary (NSSCO) level will be implemented during the 2019 and 2020 school years. The technical subjects form part of the Senior Secondary curriculum. 

The Basic Pre-Vocational Skills Course has been developed and will be implemented first at special schools and later extended to the mainstream schools. 
Some of the challenges encountered during the implementation of the revised system include: 
High number of learners seeking space in grade 10 which resulted in the need for additional physical facilities. 
Acquisition of material resources for technical schools, science kits for laboratories and textbooks as well as training of teachers.