THE deputy director of education in the Kavango East region, Pontianus Musore, maintains that the Rundu and Mukwe circuits in the Kavango East Region are in dire need of teachers following a shortage of 118 teachers and 55 Heads of Departments (HoDs).
Musore during an interview this week stated that the region is also in the process of transferring teachers from overstaffed to understaffed schools.
He, however, stated that this has been partly addressed through the allocation of the 140 teaching posts to be utilised in the 2021 academic year.
The deputy director further explained that the region is also challenged by a shortage of classrooms.
“Most of our schools, particularly those in Rundu town, are overcrowded. It is difficult to maintain social distancing under the COVID-19 pandemic,” Musore stated.
The Executive Director in the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture, Sanet Steenkamp, said that the ministry is currently waiting for statistics on the percentage of vacant teaching posts throughout the regions from school management and school boards.
“Today is the 19th of January, and the 4th day of teachers returning to schools. Interviews will be done this week, and the Kavango East Region has also commenced with interviews this week. School management and boards are yet to give an indication of the percentage of positions yet to be filled in the regions,” Steenkamp explained.
Steenkamp stated that currently, 87% of Namibian teachers are qualified and what is currently lacking is subject content and commitment.
She noted that all teachers must be inducted and should adhere to a certain code of conduct, adding that currently, the ministry is carrying out a junior insert programme which will give teachers a five-year contract to get qualified.
“Do not underestimate the value of unqualified teachers. They work extra hard to ensure that they secure their positions, but please get your papers, even short courses are very helpful,” Steenkamp said.
Touching on how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the education sector, the education ED stated that the country has seen one of its highest dropout rates, with a total of 15 300 learners unaccounted for in the past academic year.
“These children never returned to school and are unaccounted for. This is a serious concern, and it is mostly children from marginalised communities such as the San,” Steenkamp said.
She added that a total of 3 625 girls dropped out due to pregnancies, while only 18 boys dropped out due to the fact that they impregnated school girls.
“Who are these adult males who have their futures sorted out that are sleeping with school-going girls and often at times leave them to fend for themselves? Every school girl who drops out has the potential to care for at least 7 people. The first sexual experiences of these girls are mostly coerced, that is why schools cannot stay closed. Sporadic COVID-19 outbreaks will be controlled,” Steenkamp stated.
To date, a total of 77 teachers and 144 learners tested positive for COVID-19, while two deaths, a 15 and 17-year-old learner, both with underlying health conditions, were recorded last year in August and November.