Namibia land of the brave Freedom fight we have won Glory to their bravery Whose blood waters our freedom We give our love and loyalty Together in unity Contrasting beautiful Namibia our country Beloved land of savannahs Hold high the banner of liberty Chorus: Namibia our Country Namibia Motherland we love thee
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Ongha, Namibia

Ongha Village

Ongha village is a small village in Northern Namibia, about 30km from the Angolan Border. It is on the main road that stretches all the way from South Africa to Angola. And it is half-way between the bigger towns of Ondangwa and Oshikango. The town is a rag-tag collection of bottle stores and markets. The main attraction is the secondary school, where the community meets on occasion and where 500 students live. The surrounding areas of Ongha are colored with small homesteads, where large families live and farm together. Ongha is growing very quickly. A road has recently been constructed which directly connects Ongha to Ongwediva, one of the largest towns in the North. Apparently "Ongha" means adhesive or glue in Oshikwanyama, convincing a math teacher (and head sports coach extraordinaire) to name the school's sports teams "Super Glue".
A Typical Homestead

Ongha Senior Secondary School

Ongha Secondary School is a public school in Northern Namibia. It offers grades eight through twelve and is a boarding school. Most students live in one of the two hostels. There are a fair number of students who live at home and commute back and forth to school everyday. There are approximately 500 students at Ongha SSS and 20 teachers. The students are mainly from farming families from the surrounding areas yet some students do come from bigger towns such as Ondangwa and Oshikati. The school day begins at about 6:45 (usually with the national anthem) and classes end at 1:00. After lunch the students return to their classroom to study for an hour and then return again after dinner for another two hours of studying.

My Job in Namibia

My partner and I moved to Namibia in October of 2001 with a Non-profit organization called VSO. We lived on the campus in Ongha. I taught Mathematics to grade nine and twelve students and worked as a teacher trainer with mathematics teachers in surrounding schools. My partner taught Physical Science to grades nine through twelve. These were jobs that started when we woke up in the morning and ended when we finally went to bed. It was draining and sometimes frustrating but very rewarding. The students were wonderful. They were truly interested in learning and dedicated to their studies. They were our most constant companions, often dropping by just to sit in our living room and look at magazines or water the garden around our house.
Some of My Wonderful Students!
Grade 9C Boys

Namibian Education System

Of course, after only two years in Namibia I'm not an expert on the Namibian education system, but I would like to share some of my observations. The education system has come a long way in the 12 short years of independence. For good or bad Namibia has used the English International GCSE's to test their students. This demands that all students learn English (seldom a first language) to a very competent level. This proves to be one of the biggest challenges for Namibian Students, especially in the North. Despite this challenge, more and more students are making it through the twelve years of education. The bigger problems come when students leave grade 12 and can not find a spot in a higher education institution. There is only one University, one polytechnic and maybe half a dozen colleges. As you might imagine postions in these schools are highly sought after and the competition is very stiff. Most students do not get accepted in to these schools. And those who do often have trouble finding the funds to get themselves through. Good students often spend years struggling to get into one of the instituions in order to further their education.
University of Namibia: The highest institution in the land
The Polytechnic of Namibia: A very good option!

The Ongha Scholarship

The Ongha Scholarship is a scholarship fund that has been developed to help Ongha students who have achieved success on their grade 12 exams and have been accepted to an institution of higher learning in Namibia. The student that is sponsored will be funded throughout the four years that he or she is in the University or Polytechnic. The students must be in good standing throughout the four years and must send all reports to the sponsoring groups. If you are interested in funding an Ongha student please contact the fund by clicking the email link below. If you are an Ongha student and would like to fill out an application, please click on the application link below.
Ongha Scholarship Application

Other Namibian Scholarships

Some Interesting Web Sites

VSO Canada Website

General Namibia Information

If you are thinking about visiting

Info on the AIDS epidemic

Oshikwanyama, The language my students spoke.

Bottle Stores--Kuku Shops

Jacob Holdt's Photo Gallery

Email me!
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