One of the 25 learners who will embark on their secondary school education next year through the First Lady’s ONE Economy Foundation – at one of Windhoek’s best high schools, with all expenses paid – has been a top performer since Grade 1.
The learner, Otniel Daniel Eiaseb, is a pupil at Tamariskia Primary School in Swakopmund.
The 25 learners from low-income households will study through the Talented Individual Programme (TIP) scholarship at either Windhoek High School or Windhoek Gymnasium Private School.
ONE Economy Foundation aspires to bridge Namibians in the second economy into the first economy.
New Era caught up with Otniel’s father in Swakopmund and spoke to him about his son being one of the successful candidates. The father, Esau Eiaseb, shared that his son has since Grade 1 been ranked number 1 in class.
Eiaseb said the family is excited and proud that Otniel managed to get to this level. He said this type of gesture is normally associated with scholarships provided at university level, adding that it will bring financial relief for the family.
New Era did not get hold of Otniel as he was attending afternoon classes in mathematics, English and music in Mondesa yesterday.
Eighty-seven applicants were considered and then 51 learners were shortlisted. The foundation had to be strict in choosing 25 learners – to match available resources. Applicants were selected from all 14 regions – 14 females and 11 males.
Ten of the candidates will pursue their secondary education at Windhoek Gymnasium Private School and 15 will be placed at Windhoek High School as both schools satisfy the foundation’s criteria of providing quality education together with boarding facilities
The founder of the ONE Economy Foundation, First Lady Monica Geingos, said they intentionally sought the collaboration of Windhoek High School to underline the point that they do not believe that quality education is only available in private schools. The total cost per child is about N$130 000, Geingos said.
“That is actually the money I would spend on my child. As a matter of fact my children went to Windhoek Gymnasium, and part of the reason we chose Windhoek Gymnasium is because I cannot, with any level of honesty and decency, talk about giving children from low-income households opportunities by putting them in a school I would not put my own children.”
Geingos said the foundation would not only support learners in their academic lives but also provide support and guidance in their personal lives, to ensure that children excel both inside and outside the classroom.
“The path from Grade 8 to 12 is a minefield, littered with explosive issues which prevent many children from matriculating. TIP intends to help our children navigate these rough seas with a multidisciplinary support team led by our in-house educational expert, our child behaviour specialists as well as an external support team of psychologists, social workers, occupational therapists, life coaches and mentors,” she said.
Statistics from the education ministry show that only 36 percent of learners who entered Grade 8 in 2008 passed Grade 12 in 2012.