Andrew Kathindi

The Popular Democratic Movement Youth League (PDMYL) have called for all face-to-face teaching countrywide to be suspended as the tide of the third wave continues to rise in Namibia.

This comes as the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture has sent out a call to its education regional directors to advise on the way forward. “It is therefore an undeniable fact that the country has entered the third wave of Covid-19, and our basic education centres have become hotspots for the spread of the virus,” PDMYL Secretary General,Bensen Katjirijova, states.

“The PDMYL therefore calls on the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture, together with the Ministry of Gender Equality, Poverty Eradication and Social Welfare, to close all primary schools, high schools and early child development centres with immediate effect until the third wave is under control and a significant amount of vaccine doses are administered.”

President Hage Geingob is expected to make an announcement tomorrow with a set of new regulations. Katjirijova further accused the Education ministry of failing to plan for the integration of online learning.

According to the Centre for Disease Control (CDC), due to the current situation in Namibia, even fully vaccinated travellers may be at risk for getting and spreading COVID-19 variants. A number of teachers at schools have died this year after being confirmed COVID-19 positive. A 14-year-old learner who was found to be COVID-19 positive from Hage Geingob High School also died last week.

Landless People’s Movement (LPM), Spokesperson, Eneas Emvula, accused the Education, Arts and Culture Ministry of not consulting all stakeholders on the situation. According to Emvula, all opposition parties as representatives should have been consulted on what to do with schools. “We are yet to see a communication that requests our input. The ministry is also not specific when it comes to stakeholders, their approach has been too obscure.”

“If people like Dr [Bernard] Haufiku were part of the COVID-19 response team, we would not be in this position,” the LPM Spokesperson says.

Education executive director Sanet Steenkamp recently said that the ministry was taking the situation case by case.

In a consultation message with education regional directors, Steenkamp said that many teachers had indicated that they would like to continue face-to-face.

“We have received various input. many teachers want to teachers want to still work and go to school but I also think we need to focus on what’s going to happen when teachers are not at school. And children’s physical, mental well-being is so important.”

This comes as the Namibia has thus far reported 65 815 cases of COVID-19 and 1008 deaths.