Teacher shortage cripples school

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By John Muyamba

GCWAGI – Gcwagi Primary School in Bunya circuit faces a teacher and classroom shortage that has compelled its teachers to use tents as classrooms.

Grade 3 and 4 learners at the school have not had classes since schools opened this year.

Gcwagi Primary School is located at Gcwagi village in Kavango West, in the newly demarcated Musese Constituency, 70 km east of Nkurenkuru.

The school has more than 300 learners that are being accommodated in four permanent classrooms, two prefabricated classrooms and two tents and it only has six teachers.

Learners in Grade 3 and 4 have no teachers.

According to the school’s principal, Kalistus Funette, the school needs at least 10 teachers among them a life skills teacher, who they currently do not have.

The policy of the Ministry of Education says once the enrolment of the school reaches 250 learners, the school qualifies to have a life skills teacher.

“More or less, we are supposed to be 10 then we could be fine,” said Funette.

The school also endures flooded classrooms during heavy rains, as it was built in a floodplain and this was reported to the regional office.
The learners also have to walk long distances.

“This school is prone to flooding, as it was built in the floodplain that’s why we have moved the lower primary near the main road. We have requested the Ministry of Education to move the entire school to higher ground but no positive feedback has been received,” he said.
“Some kids have to walk more than five kilometres to get here. Moving it (school) will mean moving it closer to people and away from the flood plain,” said the headmaster.

The issue of textbook shortages is a common challenge at most schools in the region and Gcwagi is no exception.

“Currently one book is shared by three or four pupils. We have a serious shortage of textbooks. Our classes are overcrowded, we have plus or minus 61 learners squeezed in a classrom and the school’s learner population increases yearly,” said Funette.

According to the Deputy Director of Education, Fanuel Kapapero, the appointment of permanent as well as temporary teachers is in progress and the teachers will soon be sent to respective schools including Gcwagi primary.

“We are busy with appointments and we are talking about more than 200 temporary teachers since we have a lack of graduates in the teaching field. We are taking this as an urgent matter as our children need teachers,” he assured.

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