By Petronella Sibeene WINDHOEK Education Minister Nangolo Mbumba has called on all schools that have not started advertising places for grade 1 enrolments next year to do so now in order to ensure effective commencement of the new academic year. The problem of lack of space in primary and secondary schools has been a perennial one that continues to frustrate both parents and learners alike. This week, the ministry outlined rules and procedures that all schools are expected to follow to ensure smooth commencement of the 2007 academic year. According to Mbumba, admission to schools should have already started in July 2006 and is expected to end in September. “The applications for admission to schools in respective grades should start in July 2006 and end by September 29, 2006. Schools that have not started with this exercise are reminded to start immediately because they still have August and September to finalize the admissions,” Mbumba said. Schools are expected to inform parents about the enrolment status of their children before October 13, 2006. Based on that, the ministry requests regional offices, principals and school boards to implement guidelines as outlined in the Education Act. Among the many guidelines, Section 54, Regulations 23 and 42 (4) Form 1 No. 7 of the Education Act, Act 16 of 2001, a learner to be admitted in Grade 1 should have turned six the year before or by December 31 when the school starts next January. Acknowledging that there might be children who are older than the required entry age, the minister says such cases should be referred to the Permanent Secretary in the ministry for approval before these children can be admitted to school. For learners going to grade 11 in 2007, the minimum requirement for admission for this grade has been determined. Grade 10 and NAMCOL learners who obtain a minimum requirement of 24 points and E symbol or better in English would have equal opportunity for placement in grade 11. This is in an effort to gradually move to the envisaged minimum of 27 promotion points, the minister stated. Admission to grade 11 does not however mean an automatic admission to a school hostel. The minister further informed parents whose children might not have guaranteed space by October 13, 2006 to approach regional offices and to present the particulars of the learners for placement. Learners attending school where the next grade exists will not be allowed to move to another school except in cases where parents have moved to another region. In such cases, principals receiving applications for transfer must ensure that the application is accompanied or supported by a letter of transfer from the parent or guardian’s employer or pastor, or a transfer letter from the previous school to serve as proof that a legal guardian has moved from one region to another, the minister stressed. Once enrolment has taken place, the principal at the new school should request for the enrolled learner’s cumulative record card from the previous school. Schools are requested to make admission of learners part of their monthly meeting agendas from now till the year ends. Regional offices are also advised to establish Regional Admission Committees to facilitate admission of learners and provide constant feedback to the Permanent Secretary on progress and challenges experienced.
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