OMUTHIYA -The director of education in Oshikoto, Lameck Kafidi, is pessimistic the region’s performance is likely to drop due to the prevailing situation of not enough hostel facilities.
Kafidi says the lack of hostels has been one of the factors that have been hampering exceptional performance when it comes to Grade 12 examination results compared to Grade 10, as learners find themselves in an unpleasant environment that negatively affects their learning.
For him things are not getting any better, and he feels the situation is likely to deteriorate further due to the new educational curriculum which has now displaced and left many learners without shelter, while those that did find any are residing at private lodging or with family or strangers.
“Our biggest challenge now is accommodation for learners especially those enrolled for Grade 10 and 11. As you know, most of our schools in the region are without hostels, which leaves learners to seek other alternatives as they are far away from home. So, in most cases they reside with strangers who end up turning them into girlfriends and wives. While in some cases they rent out rooms for which there is no electricity, hence making it difficult to study while at home,” stressed Kafidi in an interview with New Era regarding the region’s enrolment and how they intend to resolve the issue of learner’s accommodation.
In addition, the education director said: “We have observed cases where learners endure severe hardship, and get carried away and engage in sexual activities, as far as resorting to prostitution in order to make ends meet as some are not from wealthy families. In the process some fall pregnant.”
In terms of enrolment, Kafidi stated the number of learners has tremendously increased, but they managed to enrol all learners. “Those not enrolled yet, is as a result of accommodation as they may have failed to secure housing in the vicinity of the school which they were supposed to attend,” he opined.
Furthermore, he said it remains unknown when funds will be made available to construct hostels despite some schools having been selected for such development. “Everything is planned and on paper, but I cannot tell when we can start and do not foresee anything happening in the next three years,” said Kafidi.
Asked if any contingency measures are to be put in place to ease the situation, he responded: “Unfortunately we will have to live in this dire situation for longer. Plans are there, but because of unavailability of funds nothing can be done. And for now that remains as a secondary need, not primary.”