Amarika Junior Primary Phase School in Otamanzi Constituency in Omusati Region will get additional classes from Grade 5 up to Grade 9 in the next financial year.
This was confirmed by the Deputy Minister of Education, Art and Culture, Ester Anna Nghipondoka, on Monday during a familiarisation visit to the Omusati Region by Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila.
Due to the lack of classes and teachers from Grades 5 to 9 learners at Amarika School were forced to drop out of school after completing Grade 4, as the closest school is 60 kilometres away. Most learners are from poor families that cannot afford the daily taxi fare to enable learners to commute to distant schools.
With the new development the Prime Minister urged residents to take education seriously, because the country will only be able to eradicate poverty when its people are educated. “If the nation is uneducated we cannot eradicate poverty, therefore let us make sure that our young generation is well educated,” she said.
Kuugongelwa-Amadhila wants all children to be educated, regardless of their gender. She, therefore, urged parents and all stakeholders in education to prioritise children’s quality education if the goal of poverty eradication is to be realised.
Amarika village is situated about 70 km south of Okahao in the remote area of Otamanzi Constituency. The school was established in 1960 as a missionary school and was taken over by the government after Independence in 1990.
Villagers spoke of the ordeals their children face in the desolate circumstances they find themselves in, when New Era visited the poorly resourced school, Amarika Junior, recently.
“The government needs to extend these schools and build hostels, so that these learners do not end up dropping out of school due to the long distances they have to travel to the nearest school,” parents of the affected learners said.
Some parents said children who drop out of school often end up getting pregnant and giving birth at an early age, because they are just at home and engage in unsafe sex practices, because the village lacks recreational facilities for young people.
“Learners are giving birth as young as 14, while boys become slaves [on nearby communal farms] even from the tender age of 10 years old,” said one of the parents at the neglected rural backwater.
Nghipondoka said approval was granted for the extension of the school with five additional classrooms, noting that the regional education office will construct a temporary hostel there next year.
She also said consideration will be given to those children, who dropped out of school, to be admitted to Grade 5 so that they continue and complete their school education.