Learners excel despite prolonged absence

 

Amarika – The principal of Amarika Junior Primary School, Abraham Haukelo, is astounded by the dedication of a group of six women who after they dropped out of school a decade ago are now back with commitment.

Some of the adult learners discontinued their primary education in the fourth grade because Amarika school before January this year only offered classes up to Grade 4, and learners who wanted to continue grades 5, 6 or 7 had to walk a very long distance to the next school.

Fortunately for Amarika this year it introduced a fifth grade and next year it will introduce a sixth grade and the year after a seventh grade. Learners’ plight was compounded by the fact that the nearest other school, located some 70km away, does not have a hostel.

But the commitment and passion of the learners that returned to school is attested by their performance.
Haukelo told New Era last Friday that two of the six learners are among the best in the entire Grade 5 class and they seem motivated and very committed to their schoolwork.

Haukelo said the Office of the Vice-President through its office for marginalised communities has promised to assist each of the learners with a monthly grant of N$500 to attend to basic necessities.

“I really commend the Office of the Vice-President for a job well done. These learners really need support because they know why they came back to school,” said Haukelo.

Two of the learners have already started to receive the government grant while others are waiting to be registered for the N$500 monthly grant.

Senia Endjala, an economic planner in the Office of the Vice-President, said she is also impressed that the learners have taken their schoolwork seriously, which is a good example for the previously disadvantaged.
“It was a very pitiful situation for these ladies. Their background is not that good and our office decided to assist them,” said Endjala.

Endjala stated her office decided to start with Saara Lukas and Ottillie Johannes who are orphans but now mothers.
Saara, now 23, completed her Grade 4 at Amarika in 2005 when she was 12 but discontinued her primary education because the nearest school that offered the next grade, Erastus Shapumba Junior Secondary School in Etilyasa, is located about 80km away. Saara said she had nowhere to go to further her primary education. Her dilemma was compounded by the fact the distant school does not have a hostel.

When the Deputy Minister in the Office of the Vice-President responsible for marginalised communities, Royal /Ui/o/oo, visited the school in July last year, Amarika Primary School was granted immediate curriculum extension approval up to Grade 8.

Ottilie Johannes, 20, left school in 2006, but she returned to school following advice from her parents when Amarika Primary School was upgraded to offer Grade 5 classes.

Others who came back are Lydia Ipinge, 19, Josephina Gabriel and Ottillie Jonas, both 17, and Leena Kashenye, 16, all former learners of Amarika.

Nevertheless, teachers said although two of the returnees are among the best learners, there are those who struggle to cope in the classroom.

Teachers noted some learners totally forgot what they were taught in Grade 4 because of the long period they have stayed at home.

Read full story on New Era Newspaper Namibia