Migration contributes to classroom shortage
Keetmanshoop – The high number of people migrating to //Karas from various towns and regions in search of job opportunities have left local schools battling to cope with the influx of learners.
Places like Luderitz, Rosh Pinah, Oranjemund, Noordoewer and Aussenkehr have seen large numbers of learners seeking admission at local schools, but many schools have already exceeded their maximum intake, leaving many learners stranded.
//Karas education director |Awebahe ||Hoeseb says many people flock to the southern regions to seek employment on the mines, grape farms and in fish factories, and many are moving with family members who need education.
This puts added pressure on local schools, he said, adding that some schools are already full to capacity.
“As much as we in the ministry are obliged to ensure that all the children of schoolgoing age are enrolled, we are not able to admit everyone. It’s impossible,” he explained.
The situation is mostly attributed to the high influx of people from other towns and regions to areas in the region.
“We have the grape industry and mines, which are attracting a lot of people and this places a lot of pressure on schools,” he noted.
The situation can improve if the education ministry would consider lifting the moratorium on capital projects for some schools in areas, where the demand is high, so that classrooms are built to accommodate the affected learners.
“If that moratorium could be lifted at places like Oranjemund, so that more schools could be built, it will relieve the pressure on those schools,” the regional education director suggested.
Despite the situation, he is optimistic that every learner will find class placement.
“I think we are duty-bound as a government to ensure that all children of schoolgoing age have access to education, so we will try our best to accommodate all the learners,” he noted.
He, however, warned that teaching in overcrowded classrooms is likely to affect academic results.
“If you teach in an overcrowded classroom you compromise on quality teaching, as well as general public health standards that need to be maintained,” he said.
He further commended private schools in the region for doing their part in ensuring that state schools are not overcrowded, by taking in more learners from poorer backgrounds, with some schools surpassing the 10 percent threshold agreed upon with government.