By Hileni Nembwaya
A significant number of more than 700 pupils have this year dropped out of school in Ohangwena region, Confidente has learned.
Many pupils are said to drop out because they lost interest or are tired of failing, while others disappear from the system for economic, social, pregnancy and early child marriage reasons.
The high dropout rate in the region is said to have had a significant negative impact on development.
Isaack Hamatwi, the education director for Ohangwena region confirmed to Confidente that the dropout statistics are disappointing as many abandon their schooling before finishing matric.
“I think the high dropout rate is contributed by some schools that are contravening the transfer policy. We want to make sure that all pupils that are transferred to the nest grades are really transferred as per the ministry’s policy, because if we keep on holding them (pupils) back, then they might lose interest and as a result drop out of school,” said Hamatwi.
“The transfer policy might help ease the congestion of the system because if one keeps on forcing the pupils to stay in the same grade for many years, many will end up quitting school,” he said.
According to the statistics obtained from the Ohangwena e d u c a t i o n directorate, more than 100 male and 87 female pupils left school after they have lost interest to continue with their studies.
About 107 pupils dropped out due to pregnancy.
The directorate statistics indicate that, in 2012 about 2435 pupils dropped out of school, while in 2013 a total of 2 447 pupils dropped out and in 2014 a total of 2 412 pupils was recorded.
The teenage pregnancy rate in 2012 was 437; while in 2013 it was 449 and it 2014 about 428 cases of teen pregnancies were reported.
“I am highly disappointed and embarrassed by the statistics. This is too much in a short period of time,” Hamatwi admitted.
He continued to say that about 34 male and six female learners have so far dropped out of school in order to apparently seek employment opportunities, while others dropped out due to traditional child marriages and lack of parental control.
“Many of those that drop out of school are from the San community, who are either orphans or coming from households where there is a lack of parental control. Some also drop out of school and come back later. However we always ensure that they are provided with food and other basic necessities, especially those from the San community,” said Hamatwi.
The directorate he said, has therefore set up regional committees and Ohangwena task force teams that mostly deal with issues of HIV/ AIDS and conduct motivational talks especially to the pupils.
Ohangwena education directorate is one of the highly populated regions in the country with more than 100 000 pupils in the region with about 257 secondary and primary schools.
Ministry of Education Permanent Secretary Sanet Steenkamp said, “We have set up a task force that is comprising of the education ministry, United Nations, Ministry of Health and Social Services and the Ministry of Youth, Sport and Culture to seek an action plan to move on, because one child dropping out of school is damage to many. It is too early for me to comment on the matter because I do not know the reasons why the pupils drop out of school,” said Steenkamp.
She further added that the ministry is working an online learner identification tracker system that would allow the ministry to know why the pupil has dropped out of school, how many have dropped out of school and whether the learner has returned back to school.
The system will also be able to keep pupils’ information stored.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015