San learners’ enrolment declines at Mururani school

13 Mar 2014 11:40am
MURURANI, 13 MAR (NAMPA) – The enrolment of San learners at the Mururani Combined School (CS) - some 130km south of Rundu - has decreased drastically, compared to last year.
This year, the school only enrolled 127 San learners, compared to 179 last year.
Reasons for the decrease in enrolment of these marginalised members of the community are unknown, despite campaigns by the school for San parents to send their children to school.
The Head of Department (HoD) for the Mururani CS, Mathias Ndumba attributed the decline in the enrolment of San learners to the lack of parents’ interest in their children’s education.
Ndumba told Nampa recently that some parents opted to work with their children on farms, while some farm owners lure these children with offers of jobs as cattle-herders.
The school borders both communal and commercial farms in the Kavango West and Otjozondjupa regions.
The school has one of the highest numbers of San learners, whose parents live and work on surrounding commercial farms.
Ndumba thus proposed that the Ministry of Education considers visiting farms surrounding the school, and educate farm owners and San parents on the importance of education.
Last year, 90 out of 179 San learners who were registered at the beginning of the year dropped out of school.
The school is now worried that the dropout rate among San learners might escalate during the winter season as they live in difficult circumstances, without warm clothes, blankets and food to eat.
Ndumba earlier said the dropout rate among San learners was high in previous years because most of them had to walk long distances - up to 70km - to and from the farms, where they spend long weekends and holidays.
Because of the long journey back to school, the San learners instead stayed on the farms and assisted their parents.
However, the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (Marco Hausiku) last year availed three pick-up vehicles and a minibus to transport the children to and from their homesteads for holidays and long weekends.
The transportation costs are covered by that Office through its San Development Programme.
The Mururani Combined School has a hostel, where over 300 learners, including the San learners, are accommodated.
The school’s hostel is, however, only meant to accommodate 64 learners, and some learners thus sleep in tents.
It offers Grades One to 10, and has a total of 650 learners.