Learning under tents usually discourages learners, as they think that other learners in properly constructed classrooms are valued more than them. This is the viewpoint of Collin Dawids, the principal of DF /Uirab Primary School in Kamanjab.
At DF /Uirab Primary School, which is home to 567 pupils and 21 teachers, three tents have been erected inside the school yard to accommodate 126 learners, as the school’s classrooms are full.
“These pupils are discouraged as they feel they are less valued than their peers in properly constructed brick classrooms,” argues the principal at the under-resourced school in Khorixas.
He attributes the shortage of classrooms at the school to free primary education that has resulted in more learners enrolling. Two tents accommodate two Grade 3 classes while another tent shelters the Grade 5 class.
Dawids says tents do not have sufficient light and are more often dark and there is also the risk that they could collapse on the learners in windy weather. The principal is also concerned about the learners in the tents during summer heat and that teaching aids, which assist them cannot be put up on the tent as they fall down.
According to Dawids, all his pleas to the education authorities in the region seem to have fallen on deaf ears. “Every year, we (DF /Uirab Primary School) complain but we are told that there is no funding available. They must write something for us about future plans,” Dawids says.
DF /Uirab Primary School was built in 1966 and its old toilets were converted into a library and the school does not also offer computer classes, as the four computers available are used by the teachers while Telecom provides the school with free internet.
Dawids has pleaded with those who can assist with computers to contact the school.
About 210 pupils are eating porridge provided by the school feeding programme.
At Kamanjab Combined School, which was built in the 1960s and is home to 580 pupils, 55 pupils are crammed in one Grade 1 classroom, according to acting Principal Geraldine Kakuuai.
“It’s very tight to teach them and maintain order; it’s very difficult as some are hyperactive,” Kakuuai told New Era recently. At the beginning of the year, 18 pupils did not get space at Kamanjab Combined School, and Kakuuai says she does not know if the pupils ever got space elsewhere or were taken back to the villages.
Kamanjab Combined School asked for tents from the education authorities and an extra teacher due to lack of classrooms but until now, nothing has come forth. “All 55 pupils are in one classroom and apart from that we did not implement languages,” Kakuuai said.
The school’s library books are also outdated just like those at DF /Uirab Primary School, luckily Kamanjab Combined School has a computer lab although Internet is slow. Some of the 23 teachers at the Kamanjab Combined School, however, are teaching across the curriculum, as some Grade 10 teachers teach Grade 3 and 4 classes too. The previously white-only school has a tennis court although it does not have tennis equipment as well as a basketball and netball court. Outjo education circuit inspector Nujoma Thomas Amutenya has confirmed that DF /Uirab Primary School needs classrooms, however he says he was not alerted of the lack of classrooms and the need for a teacher at Kamanjab Combined School.
Amutenya says, “That school (DF /Uirab Primary School) needs classrooms but due to lack of funds, I cannot reveal when they will be built.” He further says that Kamanjab Combined School will not get another classroom since a block of classrooms was built a few years ago and that the school does not need a teacher since it is filled up already. He suggested that learners from Kamanjab Combined School be moved to classrooms that would be built at DF /Uirab Primary School.
Due to free education more children are attending school than previously.