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By: Annakleta Haikera, Rose Texeira and Priscilla Mukokovi

The first day of the academic year for 2022 kicked off, with some parents finding challenges in placing their children in public schools.

According to the Principal of Caprivi Senior Secondary School in the Zambezi region, Richard Musilizo, the school turned back a lot of hopefuls on the first day as there was just no more room to accommodate them.

He said that the school managed to register new 500 learners for the first day of school.

“Most of the learners from the region have applied to the school, and it has been a challenge because the school cannot accommodate everybody,” he told The Villager.

“We could only manage to accommodate 500 new registered learners. The rest we turned back to the circuit. Lots of parents are coming, and they seem to be struggling with getting placements for their learners. We are advising them that they appeal to the circuit offices, which will be able to place them correctly.”

He further said that finding placement for learners has been one of the day’s biggest challenges.

Regina Ngondo, a teacher at the Revival Centre Christian Academy in the Kavango East, said the school faced similar challenges on the first day.

“Since it’s the beginning of the year, many parents are struggling to get placement for their children. Some transfer to different schools. As teachers, we have to help parents to find spaces. In case the school is full, just try and find ways to squeeze those learners so that they can find the place as well.”

“And if you know of schools that are not yet full, you can refer the parents to those schools.”

Another teacher from the same school, John Haingura, argued that learners not finding placements at school was an issue of parents procrastinating and bringing their children for registration at the last moment.

“Parents have to be aware and educated that registration for the following year is always done the previous year. Parents tend to register their kids in the same academic year most of the time. Parents have to follow the right procedures when registering their learners, so they don’t encounter these challenges.”

Deputy minister of education, arts and culture, Faustina Caley said that the matter of enrolment should not be a problem as it should affect learners who applied for pre-primary. Some are eligible for grade one as the other grades already did assessments and can move from one grade to the next.

“Parents may apply to different schools, and both schools reject the child. The list of all these learners who didn’t get admission is sent to the regional offices so that the circuit inspectors will look at the different schools so that the learners can be placed,” she told The Villager.

According to the deputy minister of education, although some schools are full and cannot accommodate learners, particularly in situations where parents want their children to attend a specific public school, the ministry will place all learners.

“I know that parents want the child to be placed in specific schools, in a specific vicinity, but that vicinity may be full. But we will place the child in a school, maybe not of your choice. The most important thing is the learner must be placed.”

“Parents will be informed where we have places at other schools. Every parent wants to put their kids at the school where they see there are results. And there we have to come in as a ministry, regional officers and inspectors to make sure teachers and principals are capacitated to provide quality education.”

Quizzed on whether the challenge of parents not finding placement for the children in schools was an issue with the system or down to parents procrastinating, she said, “I don’t know why it should be a problem if we are well organised. It’s not about the system. The applications for schools are out in June and July. Then we know which learner applied where. It can be resolved after everybody is placed, and we still have learners who are not placed.”

Julia Heita

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