The struggle of San education

31 October 2018 | Education

Close to ten children under 12 from Omundaungilo San community who were attending the Okahenge Combined School, dropped out this year.

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

Helaria Nakale, a member of the community, told Ewi lyaNooli there is not much interest in school, especially among the boys. However, according to Victoria Haufiku, 23, also a member of the community, high dropout is due to lack of proper support from parents.

Nakale said that among the children that dropped out this year are her three grandchildren who are all younger than ten.

“They use to go to for the past few years but this year they decided not to go claiming that they were tired of going to school and there is no food. They started staying at home, doing nothing,” Nakale said.

“We do not force them to go to school because it was their own choice to not go anymore.”

Haufiku said her mother has five children, three girls and two boys, and only the girls were sent to school.

She said she was raised by a family who are not San and they sent her to school and she maneged to reach grade 9. After she dropped out of school due to pregnancy she came back to her San family and her school life ended there.

“The family that raised me sent me to school and they made sure I was at school until grade 9 when I fell pregnant. At our community there is no one to force you to go to school unless there is food at school,” Haufiku said.

“When we wake up in the morning we go straight to the cuca shops to see if we can get any sort of work to earn an income that we can use to buy drinks (liquor). There is no time to monitor children if they are going to school or not. Among those that dropped out is my child that was in grade two.”

The Okahenge Combined School principal Fanuel Ndadi confirmed that 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.

“Dropouts among the San learners have been high and are concern since I joined this school. The only San learners who do continue until grade 10 are those being raised by families who are not San.”

Ndadi said that the only solution that could keep the San children in school is by taking them to a hostel away from their parents.

He said that the highest grade many of the San learners go is grade 8 then they drop out.

The regional development planner responsible for the San under the vice-president office, Puleinge Tomas, said his office is aware of the situation and together with the school principal they tried to intervene, but failed.

“We invited the regional directorate of education and we are busy considering taking these children back into school. We are thinking of taking them to the Hainyeko school which has a boarding school,” Puleinge said.

“We are informed that after we established a kindergarten at their community those who were going at Okahenge decided to dropout and started attending the kindergarten.”

The control administration officer in the office of the vice-president, Aaron Clase, who is leading a team constructing houses for the Omundaungilo San community concurs with Haufiku, saying he has been observing that since he arrived at the community on the during mid-October.

No comment could be obtained from the regional education director Isak Hamatwi.

ILENI NANDJATO

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