NORTHERN communities have raised concern over the new revised curriculum by the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture that many of the children are left to care for themselves as they move away from their homes to access secondary school.
The concern was raised during the presidential town hall meetings held in Oshikoto, Oshana, Ohangwena recently and currently during the Omusati meeting.
Community members, parents and educators, stated that many of the learners have become victims of social injustice.
They raised concerned that many of the learners travels as far as 5-10 kilometers every day to access classes, while many are left to find means of survival for themselves, sleeping in the lion’s den and shacks.
Before the review, the secondary school phase consisted of Grade 8 to 12 with Grade 8, 9 and 10 designated as the junior secondary phase, and Grade 11 and 12 as the senior secondary phase. Under the revised curriculum, the junior secondary phase consists of Grade 8 and 9, with Grade 10 having been moved up to the senior secondary phase.
Governor of Omusati Region Erginus Endjala, said that the implementation of the revised curriculum has affected a sizeable number of learners at school without hostel facilities particularly in remote and rural areas.
He pointed that in some situation learners were accommodated in shacks close to the school without parental supervision. This led to increased incidences of teenage pregnancies, alcohol and drug abuse and general ill-discipline in schools.
Speaking during the Omuthiya town hall meeting, inspector of education for the Onathinge Circuit in the Oshikoto Region, Naemi Amuthenu, said she was concerned about the long distances Grade 10 learners have to travel to school as the direct result of the recently introduced new curriculum that removed Grade 10 from combined schools.
Amuthenu stated that most of the learners are now traveling distances of up to 10 kilometers to the nearest school for senior secondary due to lack of hostel accommodation at the school.
“Some of those learners are forced to rent in shacks. Birds in the lions’ den. Becoming someone’s wife and performing poorly as they lose concentration,” said Amuthenu.
Another, Chief of Ombalantu Traditional Authority Oswin Shifiona Mukulu, noted that the removal of Grade 10 led to schools being far for the learners and parents are left to make provision of finding shacks for their children and some find themselves sleeping with older men in order to get proper shelters.