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Other Articles from The Villager

Learners still used as moneymachines

by Jemima Beukes


Government has described as illegal the fundraising projects involving learners at some schools in the country.
The   undersecretary of formal education in the Ministry of Education, Charles Kabajani, this week said what the schools are doing is using learners to beg.
Kabajani’s comments come after Khomas High, Concordia High, Dawid Bezuidenhoudt High and Westside High schools, among many others embarked on fund raising projects to renovate schools and buy educational material.
The schools’ fundraising ventures come barely three weeks after at an Etsip consultative conference branded such activities unfair to poor learners.
But headmasters spoken to said they see nothing wrong with asking pupils to fundraise for the schools.
Khomas High School’s headmaster, Harold Tjahikika, said they cannot wait on Government for subsidies, therefore, he has urged teachers to mobilise their students to generate funds.
“I have urged my teachers to entice each class to find a way to raise about N$500 in different ways to be used for the upkeep of the school. Every teacher has taken an initiative to raise these funds and I am not certain what exactly they have decided upon,” Tjahikika said.
He noted that it is necessary for the school to generate money for maintenance.
“We’ve got quite a lot of things we would like to do around the school and can’t wait for money to come from where it must come. We need money for the general maintenance and upkeep of the school, especially the toilets and the windows that are often broken,” he said adding that they are not sending children out to the streets to beg.
“If a child can get the money from their parents, it is perfectly acceptable. I can’t say what would happen if a child does not bring the money. We are not here to punish but for sure we are here to encourage them to contribute. I also don’t see anything illegal about this way of raising funds,” he added.
Concordia High School has embarked upon a similar exercise, which according to the headmaster, Mr E Katjariua, was initiated by parents.
“We discussed this at a parents’ meeting on 17 March this year and it was proposed that the school would raise funds to paint and upgrade the school. In my knowledge, there is nothing wrong with raising funds for such things. If it is illegal, the ministry must tell me so,” he charged.
Dawid Bezuidenhoudt High School requested learners to bring cake to school for sale to generate money for various activities. The school’s headmaster, Wilibard Mbeeli, said.
“The SDF is used on so many activities such as computers, photocopiers and to supply textbooks.”
Westside High School headmistress, Tania Louw, refused to comment but, a parent who pleaded for anonimity said she is concerned and fed up with the begging.
“Last week’s parents’ meeting was just about money. We should be discussing academic performance. It seems to me that that is the only reason that schools are in existence; to make money,” she fumed.
Kabajani said schools should not be allowed to ask learners to generate money.
“We as a ministry do not allow that kind of begging and children should not be at the forefront. We have seen young learners infront of shopping centres, especially at the Baines Centre in Pioneerspark asking passers-by for donations during the holidays.
“Imagine that at those times, children should be with their parents, yet they are running around in the sun to make money for their schools.
"Maybe they are told the one who makes the most will win a prize. If that’s been the case, imagine what would happen if a criminal tells a young learner to accompany them to their house to “donate” more money to their “cause”, then they drove off with the unsuspecting child!”