Parents want Kavango learner numbers at St Boniface increased

19 Sep 2016 13:00pm
SAMBYU, 19 SEP (NAMPA) – St Boniface College’s consistent first-rate performance in national examinations has seen interest in enrolment at the school from all over the country skyrocket.
Local parents are now questioning the admission process at the school near Rundu in Kavango East and allege that learners from other regions get preference over those from the Kavango regions.
The parents, who asked to remain anonymous, recently told Nampa they would like their children to attend the school but it appears as if the majority of the intake for next year is from other regions.
“What does that say, that the two Kavango regions are unable to produce learners who qualify to get into St Boniface?” they asked.
They claimed that the admission process differs from that at schools in other regions, who they say prioritise local children before admitting those from other regions.
St Boniface College currently has 306 learners in Grades 8 to Grade 12.
Competition to get into the school is stiff. Recently, nearly 400 learners from all over the country wrote admission tests in mathematics, natural science and English of which 75 were selected.
Speaking to Nampa on Friday, St Boniface College principal Mary Phillis Yesudasan said the demand from parents who want their children enrolled at the school is very high – they have even had enquiries from ministers.
“I am not in a position to decide that only applications from learners from the two Kavango regions should be approved. Namibia’s constitution says education should be provided to all learners in the entire country,” she said.
Yesudasan shot down the allegations, saying the majority of the learners who get into St Boniface are from the two Kavango regions.
“The allegations are wrong because we do not look at the face, but the marks. We then select according to regions, with learners from Rundu being the first followed by learners from mission stations such as Andara, Bunya, Tondoro and Nyangana if they have applied,” she said.
Yesudasan noted that it is important that the school also assists learners from rural areas.
St Boniface, she further explained, was also asked to enrol orphans and vulnerable children by the office of First Lady Monica Geingos. They also enrol children that are being assisted by the Petroleum Training and Education Fund (Petrofund), which offers training in science and information technology through scholarships and supports education institutional building.
Two learners from the Petrofund were admitted for next year.
Out of the 75 learners, the applications of 22 learners from Kavango East and West were approved.
“You need to have criteria when you are selecting learners. Over 400 children turned up for the test but we can only take in 75. Parents expect over 200 learners to come from Kavango but that is not possible. You would have selected the same way if you were in our shoes,” Yesudasan said, adding that she does not do the selection by herself and she is assisted by a 10-member board of governance.
St Boniface has for over 10 years been the best performing senior secondary school in Namibia. Learners from school are regularly in the top 10 performers in the Grade 12 examinations.
The success of the school has in part been attributed to Yesudasan’s 'iron rules', such as learners not being allowed to engage in romantic relationships with each other and cellphones for students and staff being forbidden.