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New Era Newspaper Thursday April 19, 2018

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  • Windhoek
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4 NEWS Thursday, April 19 2018 | NEW ERA Unfavourable conditions hinder performance at school Awareness needed… An illustrative photo of a sand mining site. Illegal sand mining continues unabated Petrus Nehale Othimbika The lack of classrooms, coupled with the shortage of a teacher, has affected the quality of teaching, learning and performance of learners at Oshana Primary School in Onyuulaye Circuit in the Oshikoto Region, according to a teacher at the school. Rauha Amushila, a Grade 1 and Grade 2 teacher, said the school is in urgent need of a lower primary teacher and proper classrooms. She elaborated that teaching two combined grades hinders the quality of teaching, learning and the performance of learners, especially the slow learning leaners. “This combination affects the performance of learners because you can’t reach everyone. Those who are slow already will just getting worse. So, due to their ages we end up [promoting them to the next grade] in Grade 7 who can’t read and write properly,” stressed Amushila. She added that time management is also a concern when teaching combined grades as she ends up teaching fewer subjects and not giving enough attention to all learners. Apart from teaching combined grades, the school is also faced with the lack of proper classroom as many are made out of corrugated iron sheets, a situation which leaves learners and teachers vulnerable to bad weather conditions such as wind, rains and cold. The school has only one block of brick structure consisting of two classrooms. Adverse weather forces teachers to stop teaching or to cancel classes. Amushila said numerous promises to address the situation, including one by the circuit inspector, came to naught. “There was a nice response and we were even told to identify the site where the building will be erected – but it was all empty promises,” she recounted. The school was founded in 2002 and has from Grade 0 to 7. It has a learner population of 210 and eight teachers. Approached for comment, the Director of Education Lameck and the lack of proper classroom is not new to the ministry of education, as this system existed since 2001. “Is that news? I have schools with combined grade of about 50 and 60 leaners and 540 shacks. We call them sheet rooms, so that is not news to me or to staff members or to the ministry of education and to everybody else,” *Petrus Nehale is an intern at the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology in Oshikoto Region. Albertina Nakale Windhoek The Minister of Environment and Tourism Pohamba Shifeta says illegal sand mining continues to be a major concern for the government, as many large-scale sand miners leave gapping pits they dug without any rehabilitation. This, the minister said, poses a danger to both residents in those areas and the environment. The large-scale illegal sand mining for road and rail construction by parastatals and private companies is particularly considered one of the major a challenge facing the ministry. Companies involved in illegal sand mining have on many occasions failed to adhere to government’s call to formulate rehabilitation plans and rehabilitate the burrow pits they dug. Although companies in the country have also been ordered to stop illegal mining operations forthwith and adhere to the Environmental Management Act 2007, government seems to be struggling to bring culprits to book. Shifeta says this is so because there is critical need to strengthen capacity and the institutional framework for monitoring and enforcing compliance with the Act. Shifeta however said the ministry is working with traditional and local authorities and the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry as well as the Mines and Energy Ministry to address this issue. He said concerns have been raised from industries such as road construction regarding the need to categorise and classify listed activities according to scale so that the process of applications for environment clearance can be less cumbersome and expensive for more small-scale activities. Part of the problem in enforcing the Act is that part of the Environmental Management Act of 2007 on the preparation of environmental plans by organs of state contains some ambiguities and does not clearly state that the intention of this section of the Act is for such organs to undertake strategic environmental assessments on their plans, policies and programmes. In order to address some of implementation of the Act, Shifeta said the ministry is currently at an advanced stage in terms of reviewing the Act and its regulations. Shifeta is expected to table these amendments in the National Assembly over the course of this year. Some of the amendments that a crucial include strengthening collaboration with organs of state and increasing awareness of the Act among all stakeholders, especially local and traditional authorities. T h e D e p a r t m e n t o f Environmental Affairs conducted an environmental inspection on the reported mushrooming of illegal sand mining in the northern region between 14 and 19 August last year. Inspections were conducted at Omaalala, Epukunoyana, Amutanga, and Iikelo villages in Oshana Region, as well as in Okalondo village in Ohangwena and Onandjaba in Omusati. the ministry learnt with grave concern of the devastating effects that these illegal sand mining activities have caused, especially Annual leave now compulsory for government workers Record set straight on compensating wildlife victims Staff Reporter Windhoek The Ministry of Environment comments by its minister Pohamba Shifeta people attacked and killed by wild animals, saying it will pay N0 000 to victims’ families as long as there was no negligence on the victim’s part. According to environment and tourism spokesperson Romeo Muyunda, contrary to the interpretation of some, the ministry’s stance is it would not pay the N0 000 if its investigation proved there was negligence on the part of the victim. In the same vein where people have been attacked and killed by hippos and crocodiles and where there was no negligence noted, their families will be paid the N0 000 offset fee – the term the ministry prefers over ‘compensation’. “This is not to imply that [the family of] anyone that is killed by Romeo Muyunda hippos or crocodiles will not be paid the amount, but rather to caution the public that even though there is such a provision, there are requirements for this amount to be paid. One of the requirements is that the ministry must conduct investigations when such incidences occur to ascertain itself that there was no negligence,” Muyunda stressed. Muyunda noted become more frequent and the ministry of environment wants to put measures in place to reduce such attacks and to mitigate human/ call upon the public to refrain from undertaking activities that may endanger their lives, particularly those who live along our rivers and example of swimming and doing laundry in the river as risky practices that can be avoided,” he said. Staff Reporter Windhoek The annual vacation leave is now compulsory for all government employees, following approval on the recommendation of the Public Service Commission (PSC). It has been noted that government employees do not take annual vacation leave as required and are thus accruing vacation leave days uncontrolled, Tuyakula Haipinge, the deputy the Prime Minister said. “This is contrary to the letter and spirit of the legislative provisions in the Labour Act,” Haipinge said. On recommendation of the Public Service Commission, approval was granted in terms of Section 5 (3), read in conjunction with Section 5 (2) (i) of the Public Service Act, 1995 for amendments to the Public Service Staff Rules with effect from 1 April this year. “The emphasis is on the compulsory nature of vacation leave during a leave cycle,” said Haipinge. The measures are focused on ensuring that each staff member takes the leave days that they are entitled to in terms of the vacation leave provisions during the assigned leave cycle. “If for whatever reason the staff provision is made for such leave to be taken within the next six months after the end date of the leave cycle. The conditions attached to such extension must be noted and followed strictly. Any leave not taken thereafter will lapse,” added Haipinge. In addition, Haipinge said the uncontrolled accumulation of leave is the result of a lack of proper management of vacation leave. That means that all vacation leave accrued to a staff member up to 31 March 2018 must be paid out at their discharge. “It is therefore imperative that vacation leave is managed strictly with effect from 1 April 2018 with the aim to ensure that staff members utilise their leave allocation within their leave cycle fully,” emphasised Haipinge.

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New Era

New Era Newspaper Vol 22 No 167