• April 2nd, 2020

Rural schools still face many challenges

Paulina Moses

OMUTHIYA - Many factors need to be present to contribute to quality education. 
This includes decent infrastructure as well as skilled teachers, however, the Eengodi Constituency in Oshikoto Region is one of the constituencies struggling to provide the Namibian child with a good education due to a lack of the above-mentioned. 

At Ohamaye Primary School, we found Foibe Newayu, a recent graduate from the University of Namibia. She is a language teacher, teaching English and Oshikwanyama (Grades 5 to 7). Newayu narrated her struggle to assimilate into her new working environment.  Coming from Ongwediva, she had no idea of the lack of infrastructure in that area of Eengodi Constituency. 

With excitement to be starting a job, she hired a car to transport her belongings from Omungwelume in Ohangwena Region to Ohamaye. Only to travel half way to the school to learn that one cannot travel to Ohamaye without a 4x4. Her belongings were then dropped off by the local cuca-shops while awaiting the principal to rescue her. She eventually got to the school, and had to make arrangements with a former teacher who still has her shack on the school premises. 

Newayu was fortunate to have bought the shack and thus accommodation was not a challenge. 
However, water, electricity and network coverage was a challenge. 

Newayu could not bath with the available borehole water as it gave her allergies.  Fortunately, a network tower was set up in the locality just a week prior to our visit.

Asked whether she sees her service as a sacrifice, Newayu responded, “it is part of my job and I have to make sure I provide the children with an education. Every Namibian child has the right to education.  It was difficult in the beginning but I have now assimilated to the environment and I am blessed to have a job.”
We travelled to Sheefeni Combined School and like many rural schools, they have makeshift hostels to accommodate learners who travel long distances to school. We found seven cheerful boys cleaning the hostel. 

They have no beds and slept on mattresses. The boy’s also have the responsibility of cooking for themselves with food provided by their parents as the government does not supply food to the self-initiated hostels.

Despite the challenges, most of  them adamantly stated that living in the hostel was a better option than living at home because they did not have to walk one and a half hours to and from school. The added advantage they said  is that because the school has electricity, they are able to study at night and get good grades.

According to Eino-John Nankudhu, the school principal, it was decided at a parent’s meeting to construct the shack as a form of hostel accommodation. 

Parents as well as the school management saw this as the only option to ensure that the leaners have better schooling conditions. 

Nankudhu said that because the parents took the initiative to buy material and construct the shack, the government through the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture should meet them halfway by proving these leaners with beds.

In a recent interview with the Chief Regional Officer (CRO) of the Oshikoto Region Frans Enkali, he was quoted stating the lack of decent roads in the region have become a big challenge to the delivery of quality education. Enkali further stated that there is a high staff turnover from teachers in these remote areas, “these new employed teachers do not have vehicles to have access to the schools. Because of the hardships, they will look for employment at schools closer to the road.”

Protasius Neshuku, the councillor of the Eengodi Constituency shares the CRO’s sentiments, adding that due to the fact that the constituency has a water and electricity challenge, the schools are only able to retain unqualified teachers, which negatively impacts the quality of education that the learners receive.
“The teachers do not last, should they stay for a year, it is a miracle. Only a strong person or one that is not highly qualified will stay,” Neshuku stated. He however pleaded with teachers to put the Namibian child in their hearts, “our nation needs help. Our children need you. If you leave the schools, these children will not get an education. Please bear with us as development is coming. Most of the far remote areas now have electricity. We are not silent, we are working.”

*Paulina Moses is an Information Officer in the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology based in Omuthiya in the Oshikoto Region

Staff Reporter
2019-06-24 09:32:34 | 9 months ago

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