Parents and education officials are unhappy that the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture has requested that learners be sent from the regions to attend the Dr Hage Geingob Cup in Windhoek this weekend at a time when learners are seized with mid-year examinations.
The directive displeased the teachers and parents because despite having to write examination papers yesterday in excitement of the impending trip to the city, the learners would again be expected to sit for an examination Monday morning when they return.
Each region availed 14 learners, who are accompanied by two teachers, to witness the two-day tournament that will see national champions Tigers, their rivals African Stars, and South African powerhouses Mamelodi Sundowns and Orlando Pirates fight for honours with the Baby Warriors’ 2017 African Cup of Nations qualifiers against Congo today.
The ministry’s spokesperson, however, responded that the ministry “just wants learners to be really exposed to an event of that magnitude because it will be valuable for their personal development”.
The ministry’s Permanent Secretary Sanet Steenkamp sent a directive to regional directors to send learners to Windhoek by Friday. “Regional directors, kindly note that the Hon. Minister, Katrina Hanse-Himarwa, requests that you kindly send a school soccer team to come and witness as well as being inspired by the Hage Geingob Cup on Saturday at the Independence Stadium in Windhoek. Kindly oversee the selection of the team, their transport and inform them that they would need to wear their soccer outfits while representing their regions; an official letter will follow soon on accommodation and meals, etc,” read the letter from the permanent secretary.
“This is sick. How do you expect the learners to pass in such a confused state of mind? This is an unnecessary hype created among the learners, which could lead to failure,” said one of the parents.
In response, the ministry’s spokesperson Johanna Absalom yesterday said the Cup is a national event with local and international teams participating.
Asked on what arrangements were made for learners who are busy with exams, she said, each region knows their examination schedules, therefore proper provision was made to ensure that no learner misses out.
Furthermore, she noted that learners who arrived yesterday in Windhoek are expected to return to their respective regions on Sunday.
The directive was allegedly only sent on Wednesday, leaving the regions with a mere day to make a selection and avail the learners.
In a letter seen by New Era, all 13 regions will be attending – with the exception of Omusati.
Parents and teachers, who contacted the newspaper, were agitated that the same ministry that advocates for quality education and attainment of quality symbols thereof is interrupting the learners’ examinations.