Khomas learners accommodated in tents due to space constraints

Home National Khomas learners accommodated in tents due to space constraints

WINDHOEK – In an attempt to accommodate excess learners who still do not have placement, the Khomas regional education directorate has resorted to placing pupils in tents to address the shortage of classroom spaces in schools.
Despite the fact that the 2019 academic year has kicked off last week, many parents are still running around in search of places for their children who are in need of grades 1, 8 and 11 in Windhoek.

The situation is so dire that some schools are filled to the rafters, after over-enrolled learners above the accepted normal ratio of one teacher per 30 or 35 learners. 

New Era has established that some schools have enrolled more than 45 learners in a class as they do not want to turn away parents who are in need of places particularly for grades 1 and 8.

In an interview with New Era yesterday, Khomas Education Director Gerard Vries confirmed that there is still an influx of new learners being enrolled at schools and that the ministry is doing everything it can to ensure all learners are accommodated.

He said they are not turning away any learners, despite them not being registered on the waiting list for placement.
To ensure they accommodate all learners, he said the ministry took a decision to avail tents to be dispatched around some Windhoek schools to avoid overcrowded classrooms. 

According to him, another issue that makes the placement exercise difficult is the fact that many learners who were in Grade 8 last year failed and therefore had to repeat taking up spaces for those coming from primary schools.

“We have already delivered some tents to be erected at various schools to accommodate Grade 1 and 8 learners. These are some of the measures we have undertaken. This also creates additional constraint for furniture [chairs and desks] and the necessity to appoint additional teachers. We are asking parents to be patient. Khomas already made arrangements last year to place learners. Some of these additional learners are coming from other regions. We are desired to place everyone but we must do it systematically,” Vries said. 

However, he said they will first attend to learners coming from Khomas schools and then tackle other learners from outside the region who have applied or not applied and out of the blue wants a place.

He also could not reveal the number of tents to be erected, saying it will be determined by Friday depending on those who will not find places in normal classrooms.

By yesterday, Vries did not have preliminary data as to how many learners are still not placed and how many have thus far secured a place. He said such a list will be available by Friday as they are still busy with placements.

“At the moment, we busy placing learners on a daily basis. People applied last year but there were those who didn’t apply at all, and those coming from other regions who also didn’t apply and there are those of diplomats,” he said. 
He explained that they have a database for the Grade 8s which indicate how many slots are available to place learners coming from Grade 7.
He said the schools are compelled to take those learners once they get placement letters from the ministry to various schools.