More than 120 children not in school at Opuwo

20 Sep 2013 04:00
OPUWO, 20 SEP (NAMPA) – The Namibia Red Cross Society (NRCS) at Opuwo has registered 123 vulnerable children of school-going age who reside in the town, but do not attend school.
The majority of these children are from the Orutjandja and Okondaunwe informal settlements at Opuwo, with the majority being from the Ovazemba community.
Many of them can be seen on the streets of Opuwo carrying wood on their heads, which they hope to sell for a little income.
They have been registered to receive one meal per day from the NRCS soup kitchen here.
NRCS’ volunteer Blaundina Petrus, who is involved in coordinating the soup kitchen here, told Nampa on Friday that the children’s parents have indicated that they have not registered their children at any of the schools.
They were also not aware of the fact that primary education is free since the beginning of this year.
The registration for places at schools for 2014 closed last week, which creates another challenge as these children will possibly have to waste another year if no plans are made to accommodate them at any school.
The children are aged between six and 15, and of the 123, 79 are girls and 44 are boys.
Some of the parents whom this news agency spoke to claimed that they did not have the money to buy school uniforms.
Approached for comment, Ondao Mobile School principal Amon Kapi said the school was established to also cater for the children of traditional communities.
He said he was informed about the children last week.
Kapi said his school’s management team was informed about the children who gather at the soup kitchen every morning, and have started putting plans in place to accommodate them.
“We have some options, which we want to explore. One is to erect a tent at or next to the Red Cross office in Opuwo to provide these children with education from there,” he explained.
The other option is to take them to the Okarukoro Mobile Unit, about 15 kilometres west of Opuwo, where they can receive lessons until next year when proper plans can be made to get them into the formal education system.
Kapi added that he has not shared the school’s plans with Opuwo Circuit Inspector Chris Tjivikua yet as he was out on a mission, but was expecting to brief the inspector about this situation next week.
The Kunene Region has 72 mobile school units at different villages here.
The majority of the schools accommodate Grades One to Three learners.
The units all fall under the Ondao Mobile School and have a principal, heads of department and an office in Opuwo.