16 Jul 2013 04:20
MARIENTAL, 16 JUL (NAMPA) - Some learners at the Diederik Dirk (DD) Guibeb Primary School at Mariental in the Hardap Region are forced to share textbooks due to shortages experienced at this school.
The introduction of free primary education by the Ministry of Education (MoE) this year increased the enrolment figures at the school, leading to a shortage in especially mathematics and English textbooks.
At least two learners in Grades Three to Seven are forced to share one textbook at the primary school. The school has 561 learners in total from Grades One to Seven.
It also faces problems with overcrowding as some classes now accommodate up to 41 learners, which is above the standard teacher-learner ratio of 1:35 for primary schools.
The classrooms are also in need of maintenance work as the windows of several classrooms are broken, the floors are cracked and the paint on some school buildings has faded.
Approached for comment on Monday, DD Guibeb Primary School principal Alex Kamburute, who is also the mayor of Mariental, confirmed the textbook shortage, saying the school is waiting for textbooks to be delivered by the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA)-Namibia organisation.
MCA-Namibia has since September 2009 been assisting the Ministry of Education in, amongst others, processing the data received from schools countrywide in order to procure the correct number of books needed per school.
?At the moment, we have not made any plans to have the broken windows repaired and the walls painted, but we will soon inform the Ministry of Works and Transport about it,? the principal told Nampa.
Kamburute, who is also a former learner of the school that he leads today, stressed that the school needs a library, a kitchen for the school-feeding programme as well as a computer laboratory.
?Currently, we cook outside. The books which are supposed to be in the library are stored in a small storeroom because we do not have a library. These are the challenges we are facing,? he noted.
Kamburute said if Government decentralises the management of finances and administration to the regions, problems such as those faced by his school could be ?easily? solved.
The Ministry of Education?s Public Relations Officer, Romeo Muyunda explained in a telephonic interview on Monday that mathematics, science and English textbooks for Grades Three to 12 are distributed through direct orders from schools to Government, and not through the MCA.
?The books ordered through the MCA were already distributed,? he indicated.
Muyunda said the distribution of books by the ministry for the 2012/13 financial year is expected to be completed by the end of August this year.
He stated that Kessler Printing is the company responsible for distributing books to the Hardap and Karas regions, and their deadline is 31 August 2013.
Muyunda noted that if a school has not received books during the MCA-Namibia distribution earlier, it can expect to receive books from the ministry in August. This is done in order to prevent schools from receiving the same books twice.
A Kessler Printing employee, who asked to remain anonymous, confirmed that the distribution of books for Hardap and Karas is underway, saying the schools will get their books soon.
Muyunda also noted that the ministry is already compiling the orders for books to be distributed to schools across the country in 2014.
?There are 1,7 million mathematics, English and science books to be distributed to 1 700 schools in 2014,? the MoE spokesperson said.
Meanwhile, the Education Director of MCA-Namibia, Tuli-Mevava Nghiyoonanye told this news agency that 94 000 textbooks for Grades Five to 12 learners were already distributed to the regions early this year.