Shaping the future

26 June 2019 | Local News

A kindergarten has finally been established in the Omundaungilo San community, which offers pre-primary education.

According to kindergarten teacher Ester Nghitotelwa, the school started last year and 26 children have registered this year, but it has been experiencing high absenteeism, which she attributes to parents.

The high school dropout rate among San children in the Ohangwena Region is of growing concern. Many learners simply lose interest in the lower grades and others leave due to pregnancy.

The kindergarten is this geared towards developing a desire for education from a young age.

“I am a non-San and when the school started it was very difficult. Many didn't wanted to bring their children to the school and the children never wanted to interact with me. Later they realised that I speak their language and I also know their culture and traditions,” Nghitotelwa said.

“The challenge currently is that we also enrol non-San children from the vicinity, but the San children do not want to interact with them; but we are helping them interact with others because that is the problem that sometime lead to them dropping formal education.”

Nghitotelwa added that sometimes children do not want to attend school, because they want to stay with parents, who are engaged in daily strategies to survive.

She said the majority of the parents are young people who also dropped out of school.

“We, however, have a feeding programme, which assists us to keep those children in school. The marginalised programme under Office of the Vice-President always makes sure there is food available,” said Nghitotelwa.

The regional development planner responsible for the San, Puleinge Tomas, said the kindergarten is currently in need of educational materials to assist the learners.

Children from the Omundaungilo San community attend Okahenge Combined School.

“When we established the kindergarten at their settlement last year, those who were going at Okahenge decided to dropout and started attending the kindergarten. At the beginning of this year we took over 20 children, the majority of whom are in grade one, and took them to Hainyeko Combined School. We always make sure there is transport for them to and from school during out weekends and holidays,” said Tomas.

Okahenge Combined School principal Fanuel Ndadi confirmed that the majority of the San learners who were attending school dropped out, and efforts to get them to come back were in vain, as there was no support from their parents.

The control administration officer in the Office of the Vice-President, Aaron Clase, led a team that constructed houses for the Omundaungilo San community recently.

He said when he arrived at the community in mid-October last year, he observed that the San wake up in the morning and go straight to the cuca shops to see if they can get any sort of work to earn an income, which they often use to buy liquor.

He said they do not monitor if their children are in school or not.

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