Collective efforts best for education
30 January 2019 | Education
This is according to Gebhard Amunyela, the principal of Onampira Combined School, which delivered surprisingly good results in last year's National Senior Secondary Certificate (NSSC) ordinary level examinations. Amunyela said the school's teachers put in a great effort to teach classes in the morning and coach learners in the afternoon by revising past question papers.
Learners are expected to study hard and do all their assignments, while parents are expected to monitor learners and help them with their homework.
Amunyela added that the role of the regional education directorate is to monitor teaching at schools to ensure that teaching guidelines and methods are followed.
“This will ensure that good discipline is instilled in learners, while teachers and school management will feel recognised,” Amunyela said.
“Researchers have proven to us that disciplined learners perform much better than ill-disciplined ones. Therefore, I hereby encourage parents to see to it that their children are disciplined because discipline starts at home. Let us work together for the good performance of our learners and children.”
Onampira Combined School, situated about 13 km from Oshakati at Onampira village, was established in 1931 as a Roman Catholic Church school. In the 1960s it became a government school offering classes up to grade 10. In 2010, grades 11 and 12 were added.
According to Amunyela, the school's performance was worrying but it has shown some improvement even though 2018 was very challenging.
The grade 10 pass rate was 44.7% in 2015, 78% in 2016, 89% in 2017 and 49% in 2018.
In the grade 12 examinations, Onampira was ranked fifth in the region in 2017. Last year, the school shot up to third place in the region and 16th nationally.
Currently the school has 565 learners, 30 teachers, two administrative officers and four institutional workers.
“Our school does not attract the best learners since it does not have a hostel. During regional placement for grade 11, only 30% of learners who are in grade 10 at our school apply for grade 11 while the remaining 70% are left over from schools that have selection power.
However, this did not discourage us to pass these learners and find their way to universities.
“There is a competition between teachers to produce more learners with A-D quality symbols. This year it is the mathematics and agriculture teachers who outperformed others with 70% and 96% respectively.
“This means teachers put in a great effort to teach learners in the morning and coach them in the afternoon,” Amunyela said.
“We don't accept absenteeism in our school without any valid reason from parents or a doctor's certificate. Parents are expected to come to school at least once a term to observe in class how their kids are performing.
“Most importantly, they are also expected to discipline their kids and see to it that their kids are not going hungry at school, especially when there is no feeding programme.”
Amunyela said the school continues to receive support from the Catholic Church, with which they share a yard.
“We are using four church classrooms, at no cost. The school also uses the church hall for free during examination time and for school events.”
He said the school patron, Parastus Nepolo of Oshikuku Town Lodge, also plays a major role as he visits the school at least twice a year to motivate learners and hand over donations of teaching and learning materials.
He said the school also received good support from the education directorate and the education ministry's Planning, Quality and Assessment (PQA) department always makes sure that important documents are delivered on time to teachers and officials always visit schools to monitor teaching.
“We call on other schools and communities to adopt the same principles. Let us support our schools, and also let us invest in the education of a Namibian child,” Amunyela said.