RUNDU - Parents and teachers have appealed to the authorities to provide additional classrooms as an interim relief measure to the overcrowding at Ndama Combined School at Rundu.
According to its principal Filipine Munkanda, the situation at the school, which has seen its learner population grow to about 2 500, is unbearable. The school has 33 classrooms, including three makeshift and four prefabricated structures.
“At the moment we can’t tell the total population of learners but roughly we have plus-minus 2 500 on our register; however admission and registration is still ongoing so statistics of the new learners need to be added later,” Munkanda said.
The acute shortage of classrooms is aggravated by the introduction of the new education curriculum which saw more than 500 learners from feeder primary schools being placed at the combined school.
“The situation is unbearable this side, but we are handling it although we are seriously under pressure especially with the grades 8 and 9 that have been removed from senior schools that are being upgraded to fully fledged secondary schools. Our school starts from Grade 4 to Grade 9, and we only have 33 classrooms but we need at least 38 to ease the pressure,” Munkanda said.
“Now we need to take in more from the feeder primary schools and it is more than what we have released out to senior secondary schools. Remember we just released Grade 9 learners who went to Grade 10 and they were only 200 but we received like 600 new learners who joined us from Ndama Junior Primary School who are starting Grade 4.”
The school also received learners who finished Grade 7 from Rundu Senior Primary School who will be starting Grade 8. “So that is the biggest challenge that we have encountered,” she said.
Apart from the new curriculum changes, urbanisation is also contributing to the high number of learners flocking to Ndama Combined School. According to the school principal, the school has an ongoing project where parents contribute a certain fee towards the erection of makeshift classrooms made of iron sheets.
The adjacent Ndama Junior Primary School is also faced with similar challenges, according to its principal Imelda Nanyemba. “Our school is overcrowded but parents are still looking for spaces for their children and we have nowhere to accommodate them. We have 18 permanent classrooms and five makeshift structures,” she said.
“The classrooms are not enough to cater for the huge number of learners – we have 1 500 registered but the number will change because we are still busy getting statistics from our teachers. We have a challenge of chairs and desks, we don’t have enough. With stationery we are okay – we provide for our learners.”
Education director in Kavango East Fanuel Kapapero said it was unfortunate that the overcrowding was still unresolved. He, however, added that the directorate has plans to build another school in Ndama to ease the current pressure.
“The plan has been approved to build at a plot given to the ministry by the town council in Ndama. We will also soon construct another in Sauyemwa as soon as funds are available,” he said.