Parents withdraw children from Omaheke school

18 Feb 2015 18:00pm
OTJIUANEHO, 18 FEB (NAMPA) - Parents of learners attending the Otjiuaneho Primary School in the Omaheke Region on Tuesday withdrew their children from this school, citing irreconcilable differences with the principal.
Some 160 children were withdrawn from the school by their parents. The school has a total of 230 learners.
Speaking at a meeting with the parents and principal on Tuesday, School Inspector responsible for Otjiuaneho Primary School, Isack Ueitele said an investigation was carried out into this matter and the findings have been communicated to the Permanent Secretary (PS), who will make a decision soon on the matter.
The move comes after a protracted battle between the parents and the school principal, Maria Ngava, since March last year on her alleged unbecoming behaviour that has apparently threatened the teaching and learning process at the school.
The parents have been calling for Ngava's removal from office for allegedly advancing favouritism and for not placing the interest of the learners first.
Ngava is apparently also uncooperative with parents; she allegedly manages the school poorly and causes division amongst staff.
The meeting on Tuesday that was also attended by Omaheke Region Deputy Director of Education, Victor Makgone failed to reach an amicable solution on the matter. The meeting unanimously voted to push for the principal’s removal from office or the withdrawal of the learners from the school if that fails.
The parents, most of whom reside in neighbouring villages, told both Ueitele and Makgone that they will not allow their children to be taught under the current conditions prevailing at the school, which they describe as 'not conducive to teaching and learning'.
Although they have raised the issue with the relevant authorities last March, they are still to get a satisfactory response on the matter, the parents allege.
“While we understand your concern, there are unfortunately procedures to be followed when addressing grievances. We cannot solve this issue overnight. Please be patient while we attend to the matter,” Ueitele told the meeting.
He said the matter has been forwarded to the office of the PS for a decision, which is still pending.
Repeated calls by the two senior education officials to parents not to withdraw children from the school appear to have fallen on deaf ears, as parents took their children home right after the meeting.
Parents have vowed to keep their children at home, until their demands to have the principal transferred to another school have been met by the line ministry.
The parents seem to enjoy the backing for the school board.
School Board chairperson, Nomozondi Tjazirapi told Nampa on Tuesday that the parents have decided to stick by their decision to withdraw their children from the school.
“We are merely a body representing parents of learners at the school. So, if parents feel that something is not right and want it corrected, we have to work on it to the best of our ability,” said Tjazirapi who is a Traditional Councillor.
The principal refused to comment on the allegations levelled against her.
Otjiuaneho is located some 200 kilometres north-east of Gobabis in the Otjinene Constituency.