The headmaster of Gert Kotze Wahl Combined School, Percy Mbakera, has lamented the lack of participation in school activities by parents of pupils at the government school.
The school is located in the Kalkfeld settlement, Otjiwarongo Constituency in Otjozondjupa Region. It has 409 learners from pre-primary level up to Grade 10, and has a hostel that accommodates 120 learners.
In an interview with New Era, Mbakera said out of 409 parents only 40 to 50 parents are active in participating in the school’s activities.
“It is disappointing that parents make many complaints, but never bother to get involved in school activities whenever they are invited,” Mbakera said.
He added that the school organised several events that require the parents’ involvement, but only a few parents tend to show up.
It seems to him that most of the learners at the school are heading their households without the support of their parents and this makes it difficult for pupils to excel academically.
“Learners sometimes complain that their parents cannot help in completing their homework, because they are never there, while some parents have admitted that their children are left at home alone,” he said.
“We understand parents are busy with their work, but the learners’ academic progress is everyone’s responsibility, whether at school or home,” he emphasised.
Mbakera said that on several occasions parents were invited to meetings, but the school does not get any positive response from them. “The reason we call them for meetings is to give them an opportunity to suggest, as well as learn, about how things work at school,” he said.
He said through this process the more they know, the more easily they will be able to help their children, instead of complaining.
Furthermore, Mbakera said the other major problem at the school is the lack of accommodation for learners and teachers. He said some teachers even quit the school due to the lack of accommodation and this has had a negative impact on the performance of pupils.
He said during 2012 the school had a 65 percent pass rate among Grade 10 learners, which fell to 45 percent in 2013 and 38.9 percent in 2014.
“The good teachers left the school due to lack of accommodation and this has resulted in poor academic performance,” he said.
However, Mbakera said this year the school has set 50 percent as the target pass rate for Grade 10.
Mbakera said another problem faced by the school is the abuse of alcohol by learners. “We have limited control over these learners. The hostel is not fenced and there are no iron bars on the windows, so children sneak out at night to consume alcohol,” he said.