WALVIS BAY – The Directorate of Education in Erongo Region says it has about 670 children who will not be able to attend their first year of primary education during normal school hours. There are 455 young pupils in Walvis Bay that will start their first year of primary school attending afternoon class, while in Swakopmund the number of pupils is 214. The region has enrolled about 3 000 pupils for Grade one in 2014.
Monica Saridao-Gawises, from the Directorate of Education in Erongo Region, yesterday revealed the classroom shortage to New Era upon enquiry. “These learners will be attending school in the afternoons under the platoon system in Swakopmund and Walvis Bay. We already created classes for Walvis Bay and are currently busy with Swakopmund to ensure that all learners are accommodated,” she said.
Saridao-Gawises said 13 classes were created at four primary schools in Walvis Bay – at Tutaleni Primary School, /Nara Primary School, Immanuel Ruiters Primary School and Kuisebmond Primary School.
“Kuisebmond Primary School will only have one class while the others will have three afternoon classes each. Each class will have at least 35 learners,” Saridao-Gawises explained.
She said the availability of space has been a constant problem despite classrooms being built at various schools to accommodate first graders each year.
Last year the region managed to construct 24 new classrooms as an addition to various schools at the coast and renovated school hostels and libraries from its limited budget from the Ministry of Education. Fifteen of the new classrooms were constructed with aid received from various local companies, mines and foreign embassies.
The Erongo Region currently has 65 schools of which 33 are primary schools, seven junior secondary schools, 13 private schools and 11 senior secondary schools
Saridao-Gawises was hopeful that the platoon system would soon be phased out as soon as the government carries out its promise to construct extra classrooms at schools in Swakopmund and Walvis Bay. “In the meantime we have no choice but to accommodate our learners even if it means through afternoon classes,” she said.
By Eveline de Klerk