NGSIP MEDIA RELEASE
The construction of a hostel and other infrastructure at the Eiseb Primary School in the Omaheke Region by the Namibian-German Special Initiative Programme (NGSIP) has resulted in a dramatic increase in enrollment at the school, to the extent that the school authorities have to build additional makeshift structures to accommodate additional learners. The rapid increase in enrollment at the school has now prompted the school authorities to solicit for more funding to buy corrugated iron sheets and other materials to build temporary accommodation for the learners. This was confirmed by the Head of Department and Acting Principal of the Eiseb Primary School, Ester Mariuaijani Kazangari in an interview this past weekend.
The Catherine Bullen Foundation supported the construction of a 40-bed hostel, kitchen and dining hall for girls at the Eiseb Block 10 Primary School, while the NGSIP supplied mattresses and beds. In addition, NGSIP built and equipped two 16-bed hostels for boys and girls, and renovated two existing 40-bed hostels as well as an informal kitchen to the combined value of N$1, 6 million. The NGSIP also added bathrooms and showers to the existing hostels.
“However, this time around the school used internal funds to buy the materials. These additional accommodation facilities and the increased enrollment have come about because of the support from NGSIP and the Bullen Foundation,” she says. “It’s good. It’s positive thanks to the support from these partners,” she said.
She said that this sudden and drastic increase, which was not anticipated has seen the enrollment going up by 30%, jumping from 130 pupils when the school started in 2009 to 470 for the 2016 academic year. “The quality that stands out the most about living on school premises is that you are forced into a community of unique individuals who strive for better education,” she explained. In a bid to prepare for the eventual lull in pupil’s numbers, she said that the school was investigating the possibility of re-establishing its boarding hostel.
''We are funded on the basis of the number of pupils coming through the gate, but we also focus on the quality of education, and we are careful that we don't substitute that quality for higher enrollment. It's a careful balancing act.''
The Chairperson of the Eiseb Local Development Committee, Gideon Ndjavera attributed the increased enrollment to an ebb and flow of pupils at the school as a result of the newly built educational infrastructure. Ndjavera said the quality of their school and other education institutions “is at the heart of our commitment to our children’s future”. He was not quite certain about what had caused the growth, but believes it might have something to do with the new buildings such as the hostel and classrooms, built through the NGSIP and other partners. ''We are grateful for this support, but certainly, community perception does play a large part in where pupils go,'' he said.
The Ovaherero Traditional Councilor, Michael Tjamburo also hailed the initiative by the NGSIP and thank them for the support as the school did not have a hostel in the past and suffered a great deal as a result. “In the past our children lost a great deal of time due to the lack of accommodation facilities, and any effort to make them catch up for lost time must be commended,” he said.
Ruth Hange from the Ovabanderu Traditional Council who made sure that the NGSIP support the materialised, said: “As leaders, we don’t draw any pleasure from seeing our children lack behind because of the lack of proper facilities.”
Another Grade 5 learner at the school, Frans Isaack said: “This is great. I have now high ambitions of going to university to study further, and could not imagine myself to concentrate on my school work.”