Albertina Nakale Windhoek-With the 2018 academic first term already in its second week, 1,974 learners seeking grade 1 and 8 places are still sitting at home due to lack of spaces in public schools in the Khomas Region. This was revealed by Khomas Regional Education Director, Gerard Vries in an interview with New Era regarding the progress made in terms of grade 1 and grade 8 placements. He said the Khomas education directorate last year October registered 513 grade 1s who did not have places. Out of the 513, the ministry could only place 123 learners in Khomas Region, leaving the majority of 390 pupils out of school. Between January 9 and 12, the director said the ministry managed to register 441 pupils for grade 1 who, however, still don’t have places in schools. This means 390 plus 441 totals to 831 learners who need grade 1 placements to date. Since there are grade 1s and grade 8s who are not placed yet, the ministry officials, from Tuesday to today, started a head count to determine the exact number of learners in government schools in the Khomas Region. Vries said the grade 8 registration period in October, captured a total of 1,238 learners who did not get places. Out of this figure, only 110 Grade 8 learners managed to get placement - leaving 1,128 pupils out in the cold. “For those unplaced, the head count will also indicate if there are some places available,” Vries explained. A head count is to ensure the statistics provided by schools on the number of learners registered are accurate. He added there could be a case of double registration in schools within the region. Last year the ministry created a database on which it could trace the names of learners within the region. Figures from the current head count exercise would be entered to that database and reveal which names come up more than once. Vries also blamed parents who registered at different schools and later claimed their children do not have places. “The parents are also in some respect not honest. They are having a place, but they go and register again for another place at another school.” Asked whether the ministry has a waiting list, he said, “We never keep a waiting list. Waiting is a surest problem for chaos.” For Grade 11 placements, he said the directorate had placed 351 learners in the science, commerce and social science fields, in schools in Khomas. Vries said although the number of learners in need of places has increased compared to last year, the process is however more structured. He said the 2011 National Census statistics under-projected the learner total by 7 percent and that poses a challenge in anticipating as to how many children are coming for Grade 1 each year; adding that the birth data they have requested from the Ministry of Home Affairs and Immigration is also incomplete, which hampers them from having accurate birth statistics.
2018-01-19 09:22:14 8 months ago