Omboto-Grade 2 learners at Omboto Junior Primary have gone for close to three months without a teacher, a situation that has forced the school’s only remaining teacher, Christofina Ndazapo, to absorb the learners into her Grade 1 class.
Ndazapo said she took the learners into her class, because she could not bear sending them back at home, or to let them loiter around without doing anything when they come to school.
The Grade 2 teacher, who was also the acting principal, left in April after his contract came to an end, leaving the learners without classes. The school only goes up to Grade 2, although plans are underway to extend the curriculum to Grade 3 next year and Grade 4 in 2019.
New Era visited the school last week where it established that learners could barely respond when greeted in English, and that there was a 15-year-old boy in Grade 1. Omboto is situated about 120 km from Oshikoto in the remote area of Nehale Lya Mpingana Constituency, which it is almost impossible to access due to the nature of the terrain.
When asked what will happen to the learners during exams and what the likelihood was of them being promoted, Ndazapo said, “I do not know, but our circuit inspector is aware of the situation” and gave assurance about providing teachers for the school.
“I have them in my class and I always teach them what I teach the Grade 1s. I am unable to send them outside, while others are learning. I fear the worst for them, since the year is almost ending and my wish is to get a replacement teacher.”
Ndazapo is on a one-year contract and holds a Namcol certificate in childhood development studies. She said despite the challenges of poor roads, no network connection and lack of electricity she is satisfied teaching in a remote rural area.
Onkumbula schools circuit inspector Helmut Angula said the situation was not bad and the only solution was to do multi-teaching. “Multi-teaching is not something new. She can always do that, give the learners different tasks relevant to them, while they are combined in one class. But we are working on the situation of getting a new teacher/acting principal and we are waiting for approval from the highest office,” he explained.
He reiterated that the teacher-learner ratio for junior primary was 1:35, but at Omboto they are only 28 pupils, hence she can combine the classes for the time being. With regard to the extension of the curriculum next year, Angula said the newly constructed classrooms are yet to be handed over by the contractor once completed. Only then will they look for a teacher.