GOBABIS, 16 JUL – Omaheke Education Director, Peka Semba has called for renewed efforts to convince San parents to send their children to school, as current efforts have proved to be ineffectual.
Semba, in an interview with Nampa on Monday, said many San parents still do not see education as vital for their children as some who live on farms still do not attend school.
He said various efforts by government and the private sector to convince San parents to have their children attend school have seemingly fallen on deaf ears among some communities.
“It appears that society has failed to convince the San on the importance of education. A few have responded positively, but there are still a large number of San children who are supposed to be in school out there,” Semba said.
He noted that harmful cultural practices such as child marriages, which had young San girls dropping out of school to be married off to older men, have been done away with, however parents still prefer to keep their children with them.
Semba noted that there are currently about 4 200 San learners enrolled at schools, but a large number of these learners are enrolled at primary schools, adding that the numbers tend to diminish when it comes to high school enrolment.
“What we have found is that primary schools allow San learners to be closer to their parents as they get to see them every other weekend, but high schools are a different story and such learners often stay for prolonged periods away from their parents, which in turn creates a problem for them,” he said.
The education director called for more intensive campaigns by all education stakeholders to encourage a change of mind-set among parents in San communities for them to send their children to school.
He said government, through the ministry of education, has introduced various incentives such as exempting San learners from paying hostel fees and offering them free transport between hostel and home.
Government also built a school mostly for San children at Corridor 17 in the Aminuis Constituency, known as the Chief Sophia Jacob Primary School.
San Chief Frederick Langman, during a regional consultation on the rights of the San here last week, noted that the San are culturally-inclined people, which mean that family circles are of vital importance to them and that these are hard to break.
He stated that the San are also yet to fully integrate into society as their economic conditions continue to deteriorate, therefore many prefer to keep to their old ways, which include traditional narration as a form of education.
The Omaheke Region has a high concentration of San people, with many of them residing in the Aminuis, Kalahari and Okorukambe constituencies.