IOMA – There is a tendency by some individuals that have reached the highest pinnacle of academia to neglect their areas of origin, said an inspector of education.
Inspector of education in Ngoma circuit George Sibuku made this observation when Professor Kenneth Matengu was conferred as the patron of Ioma Combined School.
Ioma Combined School with grades from 0 -10 is situated about 60 kilometres in the east of Zambezi Region.
Sibuku feels attaining a high qualification would be meaningless without extending a helping hand to the needy. “We have a lot of people with qualifications such as masters and doctorates but yet are arrogant and self-centred. We want people who can help build the less privileged. Qualifications will be meaningless if you do not reach out to people,” implored Sibuku.
Sibuku noted the appointment of Professor Matengu as patron would benefit the school given his selfless attitude, work ethic and considerable alliances he has made during the time leading to the attainment of his qualifications. “Professor Matengu has travelled the world and during that time he met the right people who can help our children. We are at times faced with problems of parents divided on the appointment of a patron, but that has never happened here at Ioma,” Sibuku assured the professor.
Speaking at the same occasion, the Director for Unam Katima Mulilo campus, Dr Bennet Kangumu, encouraged learners to emulate the good example set by Professor Matengu, who apart from earning a PhD degree when he was only 25, became one of the youngest professors in Namibia at the age of 36 after earning the title some three weeks ago.
“Learners should follow the example set by Professor Matengu. It is possible if you study hard. He is one of the youngest PhD holders. He is doing exceptionally well even where he works and I am sure he will even do better as a patron,” stressed Kangumu.
Matengu, a native of the area, comes from a poor background but he managed to beat the odds when he earned a PhD degree and gradually a professorship.
He is said to have authored over 59 publications exceeding the required minimum for the professorship and has been a cum laude student for all his courses.
He started his schooling at Ioma and narrated in retrospect the difficulties he had to endure as a learner at the school.
Matengu, who is currently working as a director for external and international relations in the office of the vice-chancellor of the University of Namibia (Unam), pledged to help learners in the best possible way as patron.
“We had it hard during our time. Sometimes you’d go for days without food and we never had decent clothing but yet we managed. I plead with parents to encourage their children. When I was approached to become a patron, I organised other natives of the area to form a committee and we have done that. The committee will work towards helping this school. Let our work talk for itself,” promised Matengu.
Ioma Combined School, which has an enrollment of about 172 learners, was established in 1972.
Challenges which the school face include a lack of an administration block, classrooms and ICT equipment.
The event included Dr Richard Nchabi Kamwi, the former minister of health and also a native of the area.