Overcrowded classrooms hinder quality of education

Sharlien Tjambari

The Director of Education in Erongo Region Ernfriede Stephanus urged educators at all levels to commit them-selves with the ministry to provide quality service in the education sector to all stakeholders. She said this during the Directors Annual Address last Friday.
Stephanus was appointed in December last year. Addressing the teachers, principals and managers within the education sector Stephanus had this to say: “let me comfort you with the promise and pledge that we came on board not to cause confusion but to take Erongo Region to greater heights than it was left by our predecessors. But we cannot do this alone. Therefore, I would like to urge the entire leadership, management and stakeholders in education at all levels to commit themselves with us to provide quality service in the education sector to all stakeholders”.
The Director further said the region faces challenges but, her ministry needs to meet them one way or another as the mandate of the ministry of education is to provide quality education, however, to do this they need prior and proper planning at all levels in the region. “We need to take prompt decision and act without any delays. We need to adapt where need be and change our practices and stay focused despite the financial situation. Finances in some circumstances is used as an excuse not to deliver”, she added.
Lack of spaces at all school in the region remains a challenge despite the regional awareness campaigns on enrolment that were held through last year to explain the process to the parents and guardians. Some parents did not apply on time and flocked to schools, circuit and regional offices especially in Swakopmund and Walvis Bay. According to Stephanus, most of the schools are accommodating up to 40 learners per class in grade one. “If we want quality education and a good foundation at primary level this is not acceptable. After the placement process a post-mortem will be done and prior planning will be made for 2020”.
Stephanus also commented on the appointment of teachers and said the recruitment process is ongoing but, in her opinion, and observation it was not done timeously and with some teachers declining appointment the whole process needs to be re-started. “I would like to urge the principals, Inspectors of Education and the HR Division to work closely. The ap-pointment of retired teachers should be done only when qualified teachers of some subjects like Indigenous languages are not avail-able and it should be done three months in advance”.
Stephanus mentioned that it came to her attention that education grants allocated to schools are misused. According to her, Principals leave these tasks to school secretaries or teachers. Inspections and investigations indicated that, and reports were forwarded to her office. It was also reported that hostels received large a-mounts of money paid by holiday makers who accommodate the hostels. “The principals are overall accountable for hostels attached to their schools and should take charge”.

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