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Over 98 000 children start Grade 1

2024-01-16  John Muyamba

Over 98 000 children start Grade 1

Chelva Wells

John Muyamba


The education ministry is excited to welcome learners for the new academic year, executive director Sanet Steenkamp has said.

She said the 2024 academic year began yesterday with more than 98 200 learners starting school in Grade 1. Speaking to Nampa yesterday as learners throughout the country flocked to schools, she urged them to use the opportunities that every school day provides.

“Every day provides us with an opportunity to learn, so use it to the fullest. Be respectful towards teachers, and guard against ill-discipline and bullying,” she noted.

Steenkamp also urged them to surround themselves with the right friends who will support them in their learning.

The executive director said Namibia’s 31 974 teachers – the ministry’s most valuable resource – are eager to welcome learners for the new academic year. “We look up to you and appreciate you,” Steenkamp said while delivering a word of encouragement to teachers.

She said Namibia has 2 002 schools, of which 1 722 are State schools and 280 private schools, all of which will be bustling with activity this week.

“We need to recommit to tackling quality and inclusive education where no child is left behind and every child matters, with no one sent away without report cards. We need teachers to return to the basics, to be well-prepared and teach according to the syllabi, bringing pleasure, enthusiasm and creativity back into the classroom,” the executive director continued.

Steenkamp said principals are crucial in setting a well-prepared, inclusive and welcoming tone for this academic year.

“This can be accomplished by improving team morale and uniting their workforce, while also valuing their ideas and talents, as well as their skills. It also entails being cognisant and respectful of the diverse group of parents, as well as being careful of State resources,” she added.

The executive director indicated that in 2023, there were 864 707 learners in Namibian schools, with the learner population increasing by at least 3% every year.

Rundu starts smoothly

In Rundu, there were no headaches yesterday with classroom space, especially for grades 8 and 9 learners, compared to previous years.

“So far, there is no visible dire need for the placements of learners at various schools in the Rundu circuit,” said the acting director of education in Kavango East, Christine Shilima.

“We are monitoring the situation, as we have asked the circuit inspector to inform school principals that they should not send parents back. They must collect data because once we know the demand, we can look at schools within the radius where the particular child is located. We will then know where we can perhaps request for new classrooms,” she added.

The directorate last year constructed two new secondary schools for learners who were left stranded and later taught in tents. 

“We have also opened a school under tents because last year, there were more than 300 grade 7 learners who were bound for grade 8, but who did not have space during the process of applying,’’ she said.

Shilima told New Era that their research showed that the unplaced learners were from the Ndama, Tuhingireni and Tumweneni informal settlements. “We were fortunate enough that the town council already gave us a plot in an area closer to the mentioned informal settlements, and we decided to open a school there to cater for these learners. While their school infrastructure will begin with construction soon, they will be accommodated in tents. We have already transferred teachers to the school, which will start with grade 8 and consider grade 9 learners as well,” the educationist said.

The acting director revealed that at the Kaisosi Combined School in Rundu, about 81 grade 9 learners didn’t apply.

“Parents did not apply for their children. We got the report late, and we had to make plans, although many schools have registered to capacity. What we are doing now is observing the Dr Romanus Kampungu Secondary School where we are placing AS learners this week. If afterwards there is space, we can place them there or at any other nearby schools closer to their homes,’’ she continued.

Regarding the need for teachers, Shilima said the region received notice of 60 teaching posts from the ministry, and is now recruiting teachers as per the need.

“Head office responded for us to address the need for teaching posts, and we will employ teachers depending on the needs of various schools. We will also look at the needs per circuit as per the statistics of learners, while the teacher-learner ratio will inform us how many are needed for the primary and secondary phases. 

Shilima stated that about 35 of the 60 posts are for the Rundu circuit, and many are for the new schools.


- Nampa


2024-01-16  John Muyamba

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