ONGWEDIVA – The education directorate in Oshana has vowed to assist in placing 300 learners from the Bin Six Vocational Training School that was ordered to cease operations until it is properly registered.
The school that was shut down over the weekend must now register itself with the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture.
School principal Lahja Namutenya Shou had submitted her application for registration but failed to submit the pending documents as advised by the regional educational directorate.
The school has been operational since last year taking in learners from grades 0-7.
Amongst other issues, the school does not have proper ablution facilities, a cooking area, food storage facility or enough furniture such as beds, thus exposing the children to unhygienic conditions.
Equally, it is not known what curriculum or teaching materials are used to teach learners and as such school reports obtained there are not credible and cannot be used to seek placement elsewhere.
Children will have to use the last reports obtained at certified schools to seek placement, the deputy education director Gerhard Ndafenongo explained at a parents’ meeting on Sunday.
Until when the region learned of the school’s illegal operation, the 300 learners remained unaccounted for and were not part of the regional statistics.
The director of education in Oshana Hileni Amukana expressed disappointment in both the school and the parents for allowing the children to be enrolled at a non-registered school.
“For us, these children have not been going to school hence I will not allow parents to bring their children here – this is an institution, it does not exist as a school,” Amukana said.
The directorate had asked parents to leave the learners at home when they attended the parents’ meeting.
According to Amukana the school was advised a long time ago to cease operations until it has been registered, but the principal cunningly only closed the front classrooms and continued to operate from the back classrooms.
“The whole time we were under the impression that there was only a kindergarten operational,” said Amukana.
Certification to run a kindergarten is issued by the Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare.
The school does not have a school board and was solely run by the principal and unqualified teachers.
The teachers bemoaned that they have not received salaries for April and May because the school was allegedly not making enough money as some parents had already started to remove learners when talk of closing the school started.
The school principal Shou asked for forgiveness from parents.
Prior to the meeting with the education team Shou held a two-hour meeting with parents to coach them on what to say to save the school.
The director said if due processes are followed and the school meets the prescribed standards the ministry has no objection to reopen it.
“However, application to register the school cannot take place whilst the school is operational,” said Amukana.
Given the number of learners the region would be forced to put up tents or use the dilapidated former Ongwediva Junior School to accommodate all the learners.