Outjo circuit inspector Nuuyoma Amutenya has revealed that 33% of teachers from 19 schools in his circuit are unqualified.
The circuit is home to schools from the Khorixas, Outjo and Fransfontein areas and has 20 schools, of which one is privately owned.
The education circuit has a population of 7 969 pupils. Outjo-based Jack Francis Primary School has 948 learners while the Sam Nujoma Primary School in Terrace Bay has 12 – the lowest in the circuit.
“We have a lack of qualified teachers in Kunene Region, so we are not a region of choice,” Amutenya said. “The region has a problem with housing for teachers too, so some only stay here for three to four months and then leave.”
Building more houses for teachers can be one of the ways to keep teachers in the region, believes Amutenya. Due to migration of teachers to other regions, Outjo and the rest of Kunene Region are forced to appoint temporary teachers who have a Grade 12 certificate as a qualification. In some cases teachers with Grade 10 are also appointed to fill the void. The Outjo education circuit is forced to appoint such teachers although it compromises quality education. Amutenya said that although appointing unqualified teachers can compromise quality education he was glad some of the teachers with a senior secondary certificate have enrolled for early childhood development courses.
Although teachers are given N$500 as a housing allowance, it is hard to find rental accommodation at that price.
Some teachers are accommodated at the hostels. Amutenya is also concerned that alcohol and drug abuse is rife among pupils.
“Keeping pupils away from shebeens is not the teacher’s responsibility but those of the parents. Children are going to such places with the consent of their parents,” Amutenya said.
He called on parents to stop pleasing their children by allowing them to go clubbing, but should rather be more strict. During the year two meetings were held with parents at Outjo to address the increasing rate of alcohol and drug abuse among pupils. Teenage pregnancies in Outjo have decreased tremendously since 2013 when almost one pupil in each class at Welwitschia Junior Secondary School was pregnant.
“Years ago it was shocking as one pupil was pregnant in each grade. But in speaking with principals and getting life skills teachers to schools, pregnancies have dropped,” Amutenya said.
In 2013 a male teacher was suspended for impregnating a schoolgirl at Etoshapoort Junior Secondary School.
Pupils at David //Khamuxab Primary School sleep in tents as the school only has a community hostel. Amutenya says his ministry only provided tents to the pupils since the hostel is a community initiative. Most of the pupils are from resettled San families and receive porridge from the government school feeding programme, while nearby commercial farmers donate rice, macaroni and meat from time to time.