By Dennis Fredericks WINDHOEK Exactly 21 years ago Dawid Bezuidenhout High School opened its doors for the first time to relieve the pressure placed on Ella Du Plessis to provide space for the growing surrounding community. The school has a history of quality education, effective and visionary leadership, sound financial and resource management and a conducive learning and cooperative atmosphere. The current climate in the school is one of high expectations, benevolence, acceptance, tolerance and a caring attitude towards all learners. The school has 1 275 learners and is currently the largest accommodating school in the region. Education for all (EFA), accessibility and equity are embedded in the school’s admission policy for learners. The staff of 43 well-qualified teachers are involved in the decision-making processes and contribute to the excellent team spirit in the school. The leadership of the school believes in strong support to staff and learners. On 8 March approximately 800 – 900 parents attended the parents’ meeting. This is an indication of the good rapport with and confidence of parents in the school. However, there is a need for parents to be involved with their children on a daily basis. The school offers a variety of choice subjects: Computer Practice, French, German, Afrikaans, Oshindonga, Accounting, Keyboard and Word Processing, Business Studies, Economics, Development Studies. All learners receive Computer Literacy classes. About 800 learners participate in a variety of sport such as rugby, soccer, netball, darts, chess, volleyball, and cultural activities such as choir, TADA (Teenagers Against Alcohol and Drugs), HIV/AIDS education, girl/child activities, school newspaper, debating, NSCA, environmental clubs, and various subject societies. The school has international links with Finland (Summer High School Association and ENO -Environmental On Line), France, UNESCO, and Germany. The two international camps held every year have a life changing impact on the learners attending these camps. Staff development programs as well as structural development are proof of the visionary approach in the school. Some five years ago the school had only two computers, for administrative purposes. Currently there are 74 computers on a network with 24-hour Internet access. We’ve renovated a classroom into a well-equipped media centre with approximately 7 000 books and equipment. In trying to meet our social obligations we have initiated and carried through a variety of projects. Among others, donating photocopy machines to a needy school in the north and to a pre-primary school in Windhoek, our SRC’s links with orphanages and the local old age homes. Concerns: the increasing social problems affecting so many of our learners – alcohol and drugs, single parent families, absence of parents in the families, self-care by children, unemployment, poverty, lack of motivation to study hard, shortages of textbooks, lack of chairs (300) and desks (140), violence in the family, overcrowded classes, lack of classrooms. The school urgently needs six classrooms. The staff have committed themselves to make a difference and to help learners achieve. A greater sense of control over the learning environment is currently visible in the school. The staff have expressed greater optimism concerning their ability to change, improve and manage the learning environment of our learners.
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