KAMANJAB - Education minister Anna Nghipondoka has cautioned school principals to refrain from sending school stationery lists for parents to buy for their children.
According to the minister, the request to parents to assist with stationery should be the last resort, saying schools should first explore all available options before approaching parents to assist. Nghipondoka stressed that turning learners away from school could cause both parents and child emotional trauma, adding that for the past two years, funds have been made available for stationery for schools.
“This year and last year, money was made available for stationery but what I am picking up is that either the money is delayed from head office to regions or is delayed from regions to schools or money has gone to schools, but schools are not buying stationery,” Nghipondoka said while on a working visit to the Kamanjab Secondary School in the Kunene region last week.
“Then ultimately schools opt to send (stationery lists) to parents. So, all in all what I am picking up is that money is availed for stationery. It might not be necessary enough, as we have moved from the initial allocation per learner to what we are using now.” She further made it clear that no parents should be compelled to purchase stationery on behalf of the school.
She was, however, quick to add that by this she is not implying that parents should not willingly assist the school when the need arises, but only when all possible options have been explored on the part of the school.
“I do not know what Kunene does, but no parent must receive any list from today. Never. Do not ever send lists to parents if a list is to be given to parents to voluntarily contribute, let it be after the regional office has done whatever it is supposed to do to get the materials to the learners,” Nghipondoka added.
Although the Kunene directorate of education has admitted that there are some schools that sent the lists to parents, no learner is turned away for not having the items. The director of education in Kunene, Angeline Jantze, said some schools in the region were experiencing delays in the transfer of funds due to a lack of accountability measures, including reports from principals.