Hunger encourages truancy among learners
Olumpelengwa – The principal of Olumpelengwa Junior Primary at Okahao constituency in Omusati Region is concerned about the high rate of dropouts at the school due to the lack of a school feeding programme.
Principal Eposhe Jesaya says there is truancy at the school, because there is no nutritional programme to motivate learners. He says when there was a feeding programme at school there was no absenteeism recorded at the school, but this year only 15 learners enrolled at the school.
“Now, because there is no food at school, the parents are forced to give their children away to people that are closer to school and have food at home to feed them,” said Jeseya.
He noted that this year alone the school has only enrolled 17 learners, of which two have since dropped out. There are six learners in Grade 1, four learners each in grades 2 and 3.
Many San people live near Olumpelengwa and most of them do not have food at home and the desperate situation is exacerbated by the recurrent drought.
He said most children that were supposed to be at school are now roaming around the shebeens drinking tombo (home-made liquor). The principal said there is a need to raise awareness to teach the parents that head destitute families about the importance of education.
“In this area parents shamelessly go to the cucashop with their children. They see nothing wrong when the underage children are roaming around the cucashop,” he lamented.
Olumpelengwa Primary school was established in 1997 and has only two teachers.
The Directorate of the Marginalised Communities in the Office of the Vice president established a kindergarten at the school July and there are 14 children enrolled in the pre-school programme.ol feeding programme to motivate them.