WINDHOEK – As some parents welcome the directive by government for schools to ensure they adjust their winter time accordingly to avoid school-going children walking in the dark, employed parents have questioned the logistical practicality of this change.
After a thorough assessment of the circumstances prevailing in schools, the Ministry of Education Arts and Culture has observed that further guidance should be provided to schools to minimize learners going to schools when it is too dark.
Therefore, the ministry has directed that schools should commence actual teaching not earlier than 07h30 and not later than 08h30.
Equally, the ministry of education issued a directive to schools offering the platoon system to finish teaching not later than 16h30.
Those opposed to the directive feel that if all parents are dropping their children between 07h30 and before 08h00, then the roads will be heavily congested which will negatively affect them arriving on time for work.
The Ministry of Education Arts and Culture issued a formal circular 1 of 2018 on the 15th March 2015 guiding schools on how to approach the winter time. This is in lieu of the repeal of the Namibian Time Act 3 of 1994 (Act. No 3 of 1994) and coming into being of the Namibian Time Act No. 9 of 2017 (Act 9 of 2017) in terms of the time zone for summer and winter.
Education Permanent Secretary, Sanet Steenkamp last Friday said this is an interim winter time change that will run annually with the commencement of the second term until end of August, whereupon schools will resort back to their original time.
She noted the ministry directed that schools especially in the Khomas Region to ensure that they adjust their time accordingly.
She said all efforts should be made by all schools to ensure maximum utilization of time to enhance teaching and learning.
Steenkamp said this directive takes effect next week Monday and each school should inform the respective parent community of the change.
Some parents New Era spoke to yesterday welcomed the directive, saying they are thankful to government for considering the safety of their children who especially cannot afford any means of transportation but can only foot in the dark to school.
“We are thankful to government. It’s a right thing to do because it is unsafe in this world of today for our children to walk to school in the dark,” said Adam Kooper whose grandchildren walk from Otjomuise 8ste Laan to Auas Primary School in Katutura.
However, Martin Cloete raised his concern that there will be congestion on the roads because the majority of parents will rush to drop their kids to school and also have to rush to get to work on time.
“This will cause chaos on the roads. The government should have left the winter time unchanged. They should just admit they have made a mistake in the first place to change the time,” Cloete said.
Ebenezer Kahunga welcomed the directive, saying she appreciates government’s effort on the time change for school children, as her grandchild will no longer walk in the dark to Otjomuise project school.
Lucia Iyambo said she does not support the time change, arguing it will negatively affect those learners who attend afternoon classes.
“I suggest for a parent’s meeting that all kids who are near schools should attend in the afternoon, while those that live far should be given a chance to attend in the morning. This will help our kids to arrive early home after school so they can do their homework. I feel the current time is just fine as it will not affect parents who go to work,” Iyambo reacted.
While issuing this directive, Steenkamp said schools should be informed that the platoon system allows two sessions.
She said apart from the platoon system where time is shared, schools have to make afternoon time available for scheduled compensatory or remedial teaching and extra-mural activities.