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Deplorable teachers welfare blamed for bad performance

FILE PICTURE: Maun Senior Secondary School students

Acute shortage of teacher accommodation in North West District has been identified as one of the contributing factors to poor academic performance of students in the region.

Speaking at an Education Pitso in Maun on Tuesday this week, school heads decried shortage of teachers’ accommodation, which they said was a cause of depression among teachers, leading to and low performance.

Moeti junior secondary school, Albert Mathabathi noted that in his school a total of 50 teachers do not have accommodation.

“Three teachers have to share a three- bedroom house because of the shortage of houses. Personally I had to move out from the house that was specifically built and allocated to the school head so that other teachers could occupy it,” explained Mathabathi who is fortunate enough to own a house in Maun.

His main concern was that sharing of houses often results in fights between families.

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“Everyday housemates are crying and we have to comfort them. We have to deal with reports and complaints arising from these shared homes, instead of focusing our attention on our core mandate of education and improving performance, we have to play the role of social workers and mediators and this is really affecting our work,” said Mathabathi.

For many years, shortage of teachers’ houses has been the main complaint in the region and of late the situation has been worsened by the increase of classrooms, which was necessitated by the need for social distancing due to COVID-19. Classes were divided and more teachers were hired and yet accommodation has not been increased.

WORRIED: Mathabathi

The meeting where the above issues were raised was called by the regional education office to discuss how best to improve exam results performance in this area that falls under what has since been termed the failure belt, that runs from Ngamiland through to Gantsi and Kgalagadi areas.

In the region the primary leaving examinations has for the past five years been far below the regional target of 80 percent pass rate and only improving to 64.60 percent last year.

For junior secondary school rate has been ranging between 22 and 26 percent, with a gradual performance improvement in 2018 and 2019 and 24.60 and 26.72 percent respectfully.

The worst performance was recorded at senior secondary schools, which have been scoring less than 20 percent pass rate for the last four years with an improvement of just one percent last year.

According to the report from the regional education office, Shakawe senior secondary school has been improving for the past 5 years with insignificant percentages whilst its partner Maun senior secondary school has been stagnant for the entire performance period.

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