Himarwa settles dust over Paheye Primary School chaos … after hostile parents withdrew children

17 Jun 2018 17:50pm

Education minister, Katrina Hanse Himarwa has settled the dust over the drama at Paheye Primary school after allegations that the behavior of the school principal, Martha Garises, was causing many teachers to resign.

The school made headlines last year when frustrated parents put it under lockdown prompting members of the Namibian Police to jump into action.

The lockdown saw an estimated 430 students failing to attend school and learning and teaching disrupted while parents alleged that Garises was less qualified.

Hanse-Himarwa has come out to say that the parents did not withdraw their children from the school due to the behaviour of the newly appointed principal, but due to the “fact” that their preferred candidate (who did not go through the interview process) was not appointed as principal.

She said the appointment of Garises had been procedural.

Allegations have also rose that the Erongo Regional Office had appointed an acting HOD at the school who happens to be a former teacher while the current one was still on duty.

The minister has indicated that the chaos at Paheye Primary School saw the school board abandoning its role and measures having to be taken, part of which meant appointing a second HOD in an acting capacity for 2018.

 Said the minister, “This was a conscious move to strengthen the management at the school. The school only had the one HOD at the junior primary phase and there was a need for a HOD at senior primary phase.”

“In the adverse situation that the newly appointed principal found herself, it was only in the best interest of the learners who (had) lost out on school work for more than a month in 2017 and with a dysfunctional School Board, that management be strengthened. The acting HOD was therefore not appointed to replace the permanently appointed HOD but as an additional management member.”

The school also came under fire for having two HODs while it had only 418 learners, something which the minister agreed as to be not in line with standards.

Responding to questions why the HOD position at the school had never been advertised, Hanse-Himarwa said, “it is and has remained standard practice that acting HOD positions are not advertised. It is done on recommendation of the School Board. But in this case of a dysfunctional School Board the regional management were left with no alternative but to use its initiative and discretion in filing the said HOD post.”