By Kae Matundu-Tjiparuro
The Epukiro community, with its traditional leaders at the forefront, may at last be getting out of its slumber as far as the education of its children is concerned.
Traditional leaders would soon embark on road shows in the constituency to engage and consult parents in villages about their involvement in the education of their children. The move, prompted by recent education inspectorate visits in the constituency, comes against a backdrop of failures, especially among Grade 10s at the only junior secondary school in the constituency at Post 3.
Among the traditional leaders involved in this initiative is the Ovaherero Traditional Authority Councillor, Mike Kavari, himself a villager of Otjijarua in the Epukiro Constituency.
According to him the school has been experiencing a high failure rate since the departure of pupils from the Osire refugee camp who were attached to it.
Out of 50 Grade Ten learners who sit the examination, Kavari maintains only three to eight pass.
Kavari thinks the community is partly to be blamed as parents seem no longer interested in the education of their children, abdicating this to schools and teachers.
The intention is for the various traditional authorities in the Epukiro Constituency, that is the Ovaherero, the Hoveka and the Ovambanderu to first meet and draw areas to be visited by each.
The message the councillors hope to be taking to the villages are the weaknesses in schools in the constituency, measured by high failure rates, which are partly a result of indiscipline among the learners.
Kavari reckons given this state of education in the constituency, there is a need for parents to get involved and rally behind schools and the school authorities. He thinks discipline must start at home with the parents. He says education is the only lasting heritage parents in the community can bequeath the future generation. However, this can only happen if they show keen interest in the education of their children.
He says pupils have been loitering during out weekends and some have even been noticed frequenting the road contractors’ camps and mobile homes due to neglect by some parents.
Some parents do not collect them from schools on out weekends and pupils are thus left to their own devices. He says he has even been seeing pupils setting out on foot along the about 50 kilometres stretch from Drimiopsis to Gobabis.
He says if parents were really interested in the education and welfare of their children, they could arrange for a common transport to collect children from school and to take them back during out weekends and holidays. This would make it easier for parents and children of lesser means. This idea Kavari and fellow traditional leaders intend to take to parents during their educational road shows.
Meanwhile, Kavari says the Morukutu Primary School hopes to soon have electricity with installation work in this regard under way at the school.
The school has hitherto been cooking meals for children on open-air fire and been without lights.
The school has even been finding the going tough when it comes to examinations, having to travel to Post 3 to make photocopies of the examinations papers. They have been finding the hand-rolled photocopier a struggle.
The community has also decided to start with the building of a dining hall as pupils currently have their meals either in the rain, cold or the scorching Kalahari desert sun.
Each homestead in expected in this regard to contribute a certain number of stones for the construction of the hall. They hope to approach donors for the rest of the materials like cement. This is not the first time that the community is self-reliant. A library is already up and running due to own efforts by the community.