1820 children don’t have place for Grade 1 in Walvis Bay and Swakopmund for 2018

The placement of Grade 1 learners in schools in Swakopmund and Walvis Bay has become a challenge for the Ministry of Education Arts and Culture. Next year, a total of 1820 learners will not have place in primary schools to start their school careers in either Swakopmund or Walvis Bay.

This very cumbersome figure was revealed by the Inspector of Education for Swakopmund and Walvis Bay, Mrs Monica !Gawises, during a recent stakeholder’s meeting that placed enrollment and classroom shortages in the coastal areas under the spotlight.
According to statistics presented by !Gawises, the total number of learners enrolled for Grade 1in Swakopmund for next year are 1018. A further 620 children still need space to start Grade 1.
In Walvis Bay, the learners accepted for Grade 1 are 1981. A further 1200 children may not get placed.
This is a huge concern for the ministry and that is why the Ministry of Education is calling upon municipalities of Walvis Bay, Swakopmund and Henties Bay to provide land to the ministry free of charge, so that the Ministry of Education can construct more schools, said !Gawises.
She also urged the private sector to step in to assist the Ministry of Education in any way possible to construct new schools/classrooms.
The Governor of Erongo, Clr. Cleophas Mutjavikua and Constituency Councillors should intervene to expedite the process, it was said.
The Erongo Regional Director of Education, Mr. John /Awaseb, echoed these sentiments. “We want to engage stakeholders, business people and corporate people who have the interest of learners at heart. Our aim is to get the input of stakeholders, on how to improve the situation of shortages of classrooms in coastal towns”.
Awaseb further said Erongo is receiving an overwhelming number of applications for the placement of Grade 1 learners, but the availability of classroom space cannot stay ahead of demand. “We have been accommodating all of them over the years but we can no more, we need your (stakeholders) assistance in solving this problem. How can we accommodate our learners? What do you suggest we do and how can you assist us?”
The Chairperson of the Erongo Education Forum, Bennet Stanley Kheibeb said education is the foundation to build the Namibian House, the metaphor for a healthy and all-inclusive Namibia coined by President Hage Geingob. The education of the Namibian child is as paramount in importance as protecting the Namibian child. Without schools coping with the growing demand, education stands to suffer.
According to Kheibeb the influx of people to take part in the economic activities in Erongo creates a growing demand for services, including education. “It is our responsibility to adjust and make sure that we at least engage with stakeholders. We must reach out to make sure the challenges in education is known and for stakeholders to assist us”, said Kheibeb.
Kheibeb added is important for Namibia to grow its economy and create jobs, but this growth lures more people to hubs where economic growth is the strongest and public services, not necessarily only education, need to grow with this demand in order to prevent a service delivery gap growing. He urged stakeholders to come up with temporary solutions for 2018 and long-term solutions to tackle the problem beyond 2018.

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