By Kae Matundu-Tjiparuro
Lack of participation by parents is one of the most worrisome problems that the Traugott Kandorozu Primary School is experiencing.
The problem is especially worrisome among the 145-strong San learning population with the most common problem being absenteeism, with children disappearing from school mid-term staying away for an indefinite time.
Not only that, but according to the principal of the school in the Otjombinde Constituency in the Omaheke Region, Johnvon-Erich Katjiteo, the fact that education is a new thing to the San community is showing among the San learners due to a lack of a schooling foundation. “The San learners are far from education and the daily challenge is how to bring them closer to education. Because they have been left behind they are still behind,” says Katjiteo.
Because of their poor home backgrounds, the San children also do not come well prepared to school.
The San learning corps is exempted from paying both the tuition and hostel fees, N$140 per year and N$83 per term respectively.
In 2007, the Government helped 24 San children with 1000 each for sundries like clothes.
Currently, the school has been experiencing a problem with cooking facilities, having to resort to open-fire cooking for some of the food like meat that require intense cooking.
One electric cooker is broken while the gas stoves are ordinarily slow except that lately the school has run out of gas.
The nearest gas centre for gas supply is Gobabis, about 250 kilometres away. Even there gas has at times not been available.
Katjiteo says another problematic area is the insufficiency of the toilets with only eight bucket toilets each for 300 boys and 200 girls for a school population of 500. He is also of the opinion that the hostel is inadequate for the schooling population, lacking beds and mattresses with children having to share a bed because of lack of bedding.
The same applies to accommodation for the teaching staff with their houses built in 2004 in a state of dilapidation with cracks visible from far.
The cracks, staff fear, can easily let in reptiles like snakes.
Some of the teachers have to be squeezed into some of the rooms in the hostel.
Children at the school could not hide their excitement and love for sport, especially soccer. Yet, facilities are another problem.
This being a communal land building a soccer field has been proving a futile exercise with the animals making their path through it.
There is no place on the school ground for a sports field. Netball, volleyball and athletics are the other sport codes the school learners practise.
At least the school has a computer but with no technician at hand it is sometimes a rough ride having to send it to Gobabis for repair/maintenance during which its inoperative state is further subjected to insensitive road conditions during transportation.
Training in the basics of computer usage is also something that would come in handy to the school, if only to minimize the amount of maintenance – some partly resulting from non-mastery of this machine of modernity.
Another matter making life difficult yet bearable for the school is communication, with the fibre-optic line of the school allowing only for the usage of one item at a time, either the telephone, fax, etc.
On the bright side, the school boasts of a library, which Katjiteo says is well booked courtesy of book donations from the Government.
Amidst these confounding problems, the school – a C-class one – prides itself in its scholarly achievements.
Serving as a feeder to the C. Heuva Junior Secondary School, 10 kilometres away in Talismanus, the capital of the Otjombinde constituency, six of the top ten Grade 10 achievers last year hailed from Traugott.
The school has 19 teachers with two heads of department. It has three grade ones, two grade twos, two grade threes, two grade fours, three grade fives, two grade sixes and two grade sevens. It has an average of 35 learners per class.