Private schools 'used as rehabilitation centres'

10 Feb 2014 14:50pm
WINDHOEK, 10 FEB (NAMPA) - The principals of some private schools say their schools are mostly used as 'rehabilitation centres' because in many instances, learners who do not perform at other schools are enrolled at these private schools.
Education Minister David Namwandi last week lashed out at private schools in the Khomas Region for allegedly charging exorbitant fees, but having below- average performances.
He also accused the principals of some private schools at a meeting in Windhoek of employing unqualified teachers, and said they are more concerned about profits than quality education.
Namwandi charged that some of these private schools have high failure rates, while government expects such schools to take the lead in delivering quality education.
Nampa spoke to the principal of Tanben College, Leo Svotwa on Monday, who said there are schools in Namibia which do not take back learners who do not perform, and these learners end up looking for spaces at private schools.
“We deal with learners who are considered outcasts, who are chased away and told they are nobody,” he said, adding that the school then has the task of addressing such children’s psychological issues, in addition to their schoolwork.
He expressed concern that there are parents who also treat their children as outcasts because they had failed, instead of motivating them so that they could improve.
Svotwa went on to say that in order to improve Tanben College’s performance, they will take a different approach to their teaching methods this year.
His school is also working on introducing a computer library which will enable learners to, amongst others, do video tutorials.
Another problem which might have contributed to the school’s poor performance is a lack of discipline amongst learners, which he described as a cause for concern.
Svotwa noted that learners talk back to teachers and come to school with cellphones, adding that his office plans to invite motivational speakers to address the learners.
Another school which was also accused of not performing was Motacs College. This school’s owner, Marie Opali, said she is of the opinion that her school’s performance can be blamed on the fact that it only offers Grades 11 and 12, meaning there is not ample opportunity to groom learners.
Opali said if the school had offered classes as from Grade 8, the results would have been better.
Her school thus plans to introduce Grades 8 to 12 in the near future.
“These learners are coming from other schools. They are not our learners, and it would have been better if we had groomed them right from the start,” she noted.
She also expressed concern that most of the learners at her school are from neighbouring Angola, and can unfortunately not speak or read English well.
She echoed Svotwa’s concerns that many people see private schools as an easy way out for learners who do not perform well, and that discipline amongst learners is a real problem.
Opali also lamented the fact that many parents are not involved in their children’s education, saying some do not even show up when they are asked to come to school so that their children’s behaviour could be discussed.
Parents’ meetings are apparently poorly-attended, and such meetings had to be called off on numerous occasions because only a handful of parents showed up.