No final decision on closure of small schools yet: Steenkamp

25 Sep 2017 13:30pm
WINDHOEK, 25 SEP (NAMPA) – No final decisions have been taken on the closing of schools that are deemed uneconomical to maintain, Permanent Secretary (PS) in the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture Sanet Steenkamp has said.
Proposals to phase out schools in all 14 regions with less than 35 learners in three years’ time have however been submitted to the ministry in efforts to cut down on unnecessary spending.
In a recent interview with Nampa, Steenkamp said no schools have been closed for this reason and as yet, there are no concrete plans to do so.
Local newspapers recently reported that the Director of Education in the Omusati Region, Laban Shapange said his office is contemplating closing two small schools in the Okahao constituency which have less than 20 learners each.
The Director of Education in Kavango East, Fanuel Kapapero last month also said they are considering the closure of 10 such schools.
Speaking to Nampa on Monday, he confirmed the earlier figure and said the learner numbers do not warrant the schools remaining open.
“We are monitoring the situation. If these schools have less than 35 learners over the next three years, they will have to be closed down,” said Kapapero.
Steenkamp meanwhile said if it reaches the point where a school is to be closed, this would be done in consultation with all those affected to ensure that access to education is maintained at all time.
“Learners will be transferred to a nearby school with a hostel with the consent of the parents,” she said.
The proposed closure of small schools will not compromise teaching and learning, the PS said.
Besides such small schools being uneconomical, Steenkamp said it is also impossible to cover the full curriculum with just one teacher as this compromises the quality of the learners’ education.
She emphasised that to maintain a school with a small number of learners is costly as it warrants payment of utilities such as water and electricity.