6 NEWS Monday, August 14 2017 | NEW ERA Nuusita Ashipala Epoko Dilapidated and limited infrastructure is not unique to any rural school and Epoko Combined School in the Okalongo circuit of Omusati Region is no exception. But despite its odds, the school has gone from passing a mere 50 percent of its learners to attaining a 100 percent pass rate in the Grade 10 national examinations last year. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, the school recorded an abysmal pass rate of not more than five pupils in Grade 10. Simply put, Epoko Combined School was the laughing stock of the circuit and the butt of every joke in the region. It became the readily available reference for failure. The change is the fruit of hard work and commitment from teachers, parents and learners of the school, situated about two kilometres from the Outapi- Okalongo road. A walk around the classrooms reveals broken chairs, some without seating planks and table planks detached from the metal bars, but more gloomy is the fact that there are not enough tables at the school, forcing two to three learners to share a table even when writing mid-term exams. The principal at the school, Immanuel Haindongo, said the school is in need of at least 50 chairs and a 100 tables to ensure their learner population of 437 are catered for. Narrating the school’s miracle of attaining a 100 percent pass rate in Grade Epoko school: from laughing stock to centre of excellence 10 last year, Haindongo said turning around the fortunes of the school was no Sunday picnic. The school, he said, had to put in extra hours, including camping at the school during the final examination. Teachers whose subject were to be written the following day had to spend the night with the learners, so the children can have contact sessions with the teachers on matters they were struggling with. Head of department for mathematics and science Johanna Mukulu said the effort would have been fruitless if there was no teamwork, because it required those with cars to ferry fellow Photos: Nuusita Ashipala Sharing is caring… Grade 4 learners at a table write mid-term examinations. non-driving teachers early to bathe and return to school again. “In all of this we would also thank the learners’ parents, who volunteered to cook for the learners throughout the camping period and also took turns to overnight at the school with the learners,” Mukulu said. Haindongo said while camping provides a conducive environment to study, it is a challenging exercise, hence the school sought assistance from the men and women’s network to guard the school and also crafted a daily programme to avoid slip-ups, such as learners sneaking out of camp. Mukulu chipped in to say that at one point they had to send the learners home, because there was no food to feed them. In addition to that, villagers also often sneaked in to the school to distract the learners, hence the school is in need of a well-structured fence to avoid such disturbances in future. “But the learners were always well-behaved, with the exception of a few minor cases which the school had to deal with,” Mukulu noted. Haindongo further said camping was always the last resort, because it is the work done during the course of the year that has proven pivotal in ensuring good performance in final exams. He said the school has from time to time had one-on-one performance sessions with the parents and at the same time created foster teachers to guide the learners. But their hard work has paid off and for that they have received various accolades from both the education circuit and regional awards, including a national recognition for one of their learners. Like many other schools, Epoko Combined School unqualified teachers make up 16 percent of the teaching staff of 22. The school principal said though that such teachers are dedicated and were currently enrolled with various institutions to acquire full teaching qualifications. Cementing the principal’s testimony of hard work as the key to their success was Grade 10 learner Verena Sheehamandje, who moved to the school from A. Shipena Secondary School in Windhoek this year. “The teachers here are dedicated and serious. Teachers here do not move onto the next topic, unless all the learners understand. Here teachers even come to assist us on Saturday,” Sheehamandje said. Another learner, Elias Konghola, formerly with CJ Brand in Windhoek, said the school environment was conducive for learning. Apart from the positive achievements, the school is evidently in need of a library, a proper fence, some computers, and an additional block to house a classroom, a proper staff room, as well as a science laboratory. Mukulu said science teachers at the school perform their practicals sessions in an un-prescribed space, raising the risk of chemicals spilling onto teachers and learners. “But we do this because we believe it is important for the learners to see how things are done, rather than just hearing them because it assists them in answering questions,” she said. Catalysts… The teaching staff at Epoko Combined School. Dedicated… Principal Immanuel Haindongo and Johanna Mukulu, the head of department for mathematics and science.
Monday, August 14 2017 | NEW ERA NEWS 7 Staff Reporter Windhoek The Fifth National Development Plan (NDP5), which was launched earlier this year by President Geingob, forms part of a series of a total of seven national development plans that are to implement and achieve the objectives and aspirations of Namibia’s long-term vision, Vision 2030. In sequence, NDP5 will be the fifth five-year implementation vehicle towards Vision 2030 and will be implemented from the financial year 2017/18 up until 2021/22. The NDP5 framework is organised around the four interconnected pillars that are founded on the principle of sustainable development namely: economic progression; social transformation; environmental sustainability; and good governance. These pillars are aligned with Namibia’s commitment to eradicate poverty and inequality as outlined in Vision 2030, the Harambee Prosperity Plan (2016), and the SWAPO Party Manifesto (2014). Additionally, the pillars support the global and continental development frameworks to which Namibia is committed. These include Agenda 2030, Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), The Paris Agreement (CoP21); African Union (AU) Agenda 2063 and SADC Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP). Within these contexts, Namibia commits itself to enhancing growth and economic diversification while addressing challenges that include a high degree of regulation and a mismatch between the skill levels in Namibia’s work force and the skills demanded by the labour market. NDP5 identifies five game changers that will move Namibia from a reactive, input-based economy towards a proactive, high performing economy. The game changers are; Increase investment in infrastructure development; increase productivity in agriculture, especially for smallholder farmers; invest in quality technical skills development; improve value addition in natural resources; achieve industrial development through local procurement. CONSERVATION AND SUS- TAINABLE USE OF RE- SOURCES Where we are Namibia is endowed with abundant natural resources such as wildlife, fisheries, forestry, minerals as well as a solar and wind regime that is suitable for renewable energy. Natural resource-based sectors are among the largest contributors to GDP and they employ more than 30 percent of the country’s workforce. Around 70 percent of Na- SPECIAL FOCUS: NDP5 Sustainably managing our natural resources Environmental Sustainability: Part 1 Photo: Nampa On a mission… A 2016 file photo of Environment and Tourism Minister Pohamba Shifeta with a rhino carcass during a visit to Etosha National Park, where most cases of poaching occur. Poaching, human-wildlife conflict and the unsustainable utilisation of natural resources have been identified by NDP5 as some of the threats to environmental sustainability. mibia’s population is directly dependent on the natural resource base for income, food, medicinal and health needs, fuel and shelter. In order to ensure the conservation and sustainable utilisation of wildlife and other natural resources, approximately 44 percent of the country’s land mass is under some form of conservation management. Namibia continues to champion high levels of community participation in the management of their natural resources which has led to an increase of communal conservancies from 66 in 2012 to 82 in 2016, covering over 54 percent of the communal lands. Community conservation generated approximately N.2 million for local communities and has facilitated the creation of 5,808 jobs in 2014, benefiting about 170,000 local community members. However, poaching, human wildlife conflict and the unsustainable utilisation of natural resources are threats to environmental sustainability Desired Outcome By 2022, Namibia is sustainably managing her natural resources. Challenges Population growth and industrialisation – leading to a higher demand for natural resources and services resulting in increased volumes and types of waste and pollution. The expansion of mining and prospecting activities and associated infrastructural development cause habitat loss and destruction, especially in ecologically sensitive areas. Sustainability of Community Based Natural Resource Management (CBNRM) Programme – The majority of conservancies and community forests are not optimally attaining the intended benefits. A fragmented legislative framework and weak coordination between institutions responsible for the management of natural resources (fauna, flora, water, land) has resulted in under performance of the CBNRM programme. Inadequate resources to manage wildlife crime and illegal harvesting of natural resources: Poaching and illegal trade of wildlife and other natural resource products are on the increase. There is limited manpower to enforce legislation, poor and inadequate infrastructure and equipment pose challenges to address wildlife crime and illegal harvesting of natural resources. Human wildlife conflict: The coexistence of human and wildlife is a growing challenge, requiring management and adaptation. Insufficient value addition and beneficiation to communities from biodiversity including plants, animals and fisheries resources. ENVIRONMENTAL MAN- AGEMENT AND CLI- MATE CHANGE Where we are Namibia is one of the most vulnerable countries in the world to climate change. Climate variability over the medium and long term is likely to further reduce the productivity of agricultural land, fisheries, and forestry and threatens the growth of the tourist sector. The demands for Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) increased during the NDP4 period. Approximately 322 EIAs were processed in 2015/16 compared to 120 in 2012/13. There is however limited capacity in place to enforce and inspect adherence to Environmental Management Plans (EMPs) with 57 percent compliance. With industrialisation on the increase and towns growing faster than ever before, the management of waste and pollution has become a serious concern. Climate change presents Namibia with an incentive to move towards low-carbon and climate-resilient development. This transition must include the sectors of energy, transport, industrial production, agriculture, water and waste management. Desired outcome By 2022, Namibia is sustainably managing its environment and climate resilient. Challenges Population growth and industrialisation: leading to a higher demand for natural resources and services resulting in increased volumes and Vote of Thanks The Late Tatekulu Leonard Nangolo Mukwiilongo * DoB: 23 Oct 1924 + DoD: 24 May 2017 types of waste and pollution. The expansion of mining and prospecting activities and associated infrastructural development causes habitat loss and destruction, especially in ecologically sensitive areas (including offshore). Mechanisms for the rehabilitation of areas degraded through mining and quarrying activities need to be developed and implemented. Weak institutional capacity and governance mechanisms: this is evident in the implementation and enforcement of existing legislation, particularly the Environmental Management Act, which requires close inter-sectoral collaboration. It further leads to lack of resources for environmental management. Climate change: Leading to increased droughts and flood events, resulting in reduced agricultural yields, shifts in vegetation types and species, and effects on vulnerable ecosystems. It further exacerbates the threat to the natural environment and the productivity of natural resource-based sectors. Centralisation of functions critical to environmental management: environmental management is centralised which affects service delivery and operational efficiency for sub national government. We, the family and relatives of the late Tatekulu Leonard Nangolo Mukwiilongo, would like to express our sincere and deepest gratitude and appreciation for the support and care afforded to us during mourning our beloved, Brother, Uncle, Father, Grandfather and Friend (TK Leonard), who passed on the 24 th of May 2017. OUR EARNEST AND PROFOUND APPRECIATION GOES TO: • His Excellency, the President of the Republic of Namibia, Dr Hage Geingob and Madam Geingos • His Excellency, Tatekulu Dr. Sam Shafiishuna Nuuyoma, Founding President and Father of the Namibian Nation • His Excellency,Tatekulu,Hifikepunye Lucas Pohamba, Former President of the Republic of Namibia • Rt. Hon. Dr Saara Kuugongelwa- Amadhila, Prime Minister of the Republic of Namibia • Hon. Nangolo Mbumba, Secretary-General of SWAPO Party • Dr Tshali Iithete, Ongwediva Medipark • Doctors and Nurses of Ongwediva Medipark Hospital • Doctors and Nurses of Oshikuku Hospital • Tatekulu Herman ‘Ndilimani’ Iipumbu, Chief of the Uukwambi Traditional Authority • Hon. Erginus Endjala, Governor of Omusati Region • Tatekulu Mukwaita Shanyengana, SWAPO Party Elder’s Council • Hon.Gerhadt Shiimi, Elim Constituency Councilor • Hon. Isai Kapenambili, Okahao Constituency Councillor • Retired Bishop Dr. Kleopas Dumeni • Pastor Kleopas Nakale • Pastor Andreas Iiyambo • Tatekulu Councillor Peter Endjambi • Communities of Elim • Namibian Defence Force • Namibian Broadcasting Corporation • Dj Remind Trading Enterprises cc • Neighbours, friends and all comrades • Dilimani Funeral Services • Directors of proceedings; and • Everybody who supported and comforted us.