OTJITUUO – Forty-nine grade one learners out of 122 failed their examinations during the last semester due to overcrowding at the Otjituuo Primary School in the Okakarara Constituency.
There are 61 learners in each of the two grade one classes at the school, some 170 kilometres from Okakarara. The ratio per class is supposed to be 35 learners to one teacher.
This non-conducive educational environment was outlined by the principal of the school, Abel Shihango, during a fact-finding tour initiated by Okakarara Constituency Councillor, Vetaruhe Kandorozu.
The overcrowding in grade one causes up to three learners to share one chair and a table. “The situation is the worst in grade one,” said Shihango.
He added that no afternoon classes could be introduced at the school to deal with the overcrowding due to a shortage of teachers. The principal urged the Ministry of Education to deploy more teachers to the school.
In addition, the grades 5 and 7 classes have been without a teacher for about a month due to the retirement of one teacher, while another was transferred to another school.
The school employs only 15 teachers for all 491 learners. The school also has leaking roofs, a shortage of desks for the pre-primary class and generally dilapidated facilities.
The children in the school hostel have to bathe with cold water, because the geyser is broken. Moreover, computers have not been in use for two years, because no tables and chairs are available, while children sleep on bare floors because of the shortage of beds and mattresses.
Shihango further complained about staff absenteeism saying teachers attend too many funerals.
Councillor Kandorozu is expected to present his findings to the regional director of Education in Otjiwarongo by June 27.