Teachers abscond from lessons

Erongo education faces uphill

08 June 2020 | Education

Swakopmund • [email protected]

At all state schools in the Erongo region, the challenges outweigh the successes achieved.

“However, teaching and learning must continue. That remains our motto despite the crisis,” Erongo's regional director of education Ernfriede Stephanus said on Friday while reviewing the reopening of schools.

The biggest challenge is some teachers who stay home due to medical reasons and thus do not show up for lessons.

“We are investigating this problem. We have to make sure that there are no teachers who abuse the situation,” Stephanus said.

Social distancing is also a considerable challenge that has to be implemented among learners.

“This is not easy because many classrooms are overcrowded anyway. We have divided students into smaller groups, but now there is a shortage of classrooms,” she added.

This is a particular challenge at schools with more than 400 learners.

“If the rest of the students in grade 10 and the classes below return to school soon, we expect many problems.”

Another challenge is the shortage of printing paper and printer cartridges. This is due to supplier shortages and the closed border to South Africa as a result of the pandemic.

Nevertheless, Stephanus was pleased that the majority of all grade 11 and 12 students showed up for lessons last Wednesday.

In the Omaruru district, which has nine state schools, 78% of all grade 11 students and 74% of all grade 12 students showed up for class on the first day. In Swakopmund there were significantly more: 97% of grade 11 students and 84% of grade 12 students.

“We are pleased that students want to learn again,” Stephanus said.

In Walvis Bay, many pupils also showed up for lessons on time on the first day at the seven state schools, but all learners were sent home immediately.

Stephanus justified this measure due to the fact that lockdown level 1 continues to apply in the harbour town and that exit restrictions are therefore still in force.

One of the successes was the distribution of face masks to all learners. In addition, despite the challenge, social distancing in classrooms is being strictly enforced.

“We noticed that many learners do not apply social distancing during breaks or on the way home. Then many take off their masks. This will have to change,” she said.

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