Tuesday 11 May 2021
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Classroom or prison?


Keetmanshoop youth gives authorities ‘grey hair’
Education and police authorities in Keetmanshoop are slowly running out of ideas on how to keep the youth of the town in the classrooms instead of in prison.
A lack of discipline amongst a large section of the young people in Keetmanshoop continues to hamper youth development in the town, with social evils such as bad behavior, disrespect towards teachers, teenage pregnancies, alcohol and drug abuse and school dropouts very prevalent cited as the more common occurences.
An official in Keetmanshoop’s education directorate, Hilia Shatipamba, said school dropouts is mainly a result of learners making little progress at school while others feel it is better to seek employment instead of sitting in a classroom.
She also blamed the precarious situation on a lack of parental guidance.
“Learners either come from an orphanage or one of their parents are in jail, therefore, they do not get the parental support they need,” Shatipamba said.
The education situation is so dire in the region, //Karas region was ranked number 13 out of the 14 regions in the junior secondary examinations last year. Only 40 percent of the leaners who sat for the 2015 examinations obtained 23 points and above.
Meanwhile, with numbers in the classrooms dwindling, in prison numbers are on a rise.
Keetmanshoop acting station commander and Stock Theft Unit Commander, Inspector Godfried Kauhanda expressed concern over the increased criminal activities involving the youth earlier this week.
Statistics provided by Kauhanda shows that this month, there were 10 cases of robbery recorded, 17 cases of house breaking, and 4 cases of drug possession.
“All the suspects in these cases are aged below 20. The older men would normally make use of young boys to steal and damage property for a certain fee,” he narrated.
“We believe that in Keetmanshoop alone, every second youth is a smoker. It gets worse when you go the     Tseiblaagte area[informal settlement],” said a concerned Kauhanda.
Kauhanda said the situation is so dire, the police sometimes have no choice but to incarcerate juveniles because they pose a big threat to the public.
“We currently have a juvenile in prison because he cannot be kept outside because he is a threat to the community,” said the inspector.
//Karas regional youth coordinator Cynthia Gomza is concerned by the high levels of alcohol abuse amongst the youth in the region.
She said the social evils continue to prevail despite the presence of constituency youth forums in all the seven constituencies that are aimed at disciplining and keeping young people off the streets.
Gomza said the youth forum also approached potential employers to seek employment opportunities for the young people in the region, many of whom have since landed jobs at Skorpion Zinc Mine.
“Most of the unemployed youth gave in their CVs, some of those are currently employed at the mine,” she said.
Gomza said: “I observed that the major contributing factor to learners dropping out of school is alcohol and drug abuse. I cannot really say teenage pregnancies contributes so much because nowadays girls are allowed to attend school even if they are pregnant.”
She also castigated teachers who socialize with learners at alcohol outlets.
“They socialise with the learners and still expect those learners to respect and listen to them in class. This is impossible in most cases because the learners lose respect for the teacher as soon as they start socializing together.

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