20 Oktober 2020 | Bildung

Young boy takes up teacher’s role

Twelve-year-old Bertius Jahs set up a temporary classroom in his yard to help other learners in Walvis Bay during the lockdown.

Leandrea Louw

Learners found themselves in unchartered territory with the arrival of the Covid-19 pandemic. One of the first operations that came to a standstill was face-to-face teaching.

However, this did not stop Bertius Jahs (12), who set up a temporary classroom in the yard of his parents’ house in Kuisebmond. He started teaching five learners between the ages of two and 12.

His story, first written by Ester Mbathera from The Namibian, attracted a lot of attention, such as that of Ninah Allen, a third-year education student, and the governor of the Erongo Region, Neville Andre, who paid a surprise to the makeshift school earlier this year.

Started as a game

Jahs said it all started as a game to keep themselves busy.

“While we were playing, I realised that some of the information I asked them, they did not know it. Ester later on also found us and encouraged us to take it a bit more serious, which I decided to do.”

He said that classes take place Monday to Friday, from 10:00 to 12:00, with a break at 11:00. The classes include English, mathematics, spelling tests and even physical education.

When Namibian Sun paid him a visit, it was evident Jahs was taking his role very seriously, teaching and mentoring the younger children.

“I plan the lessons at night, the day before class. During the day, there are too much distractions.”

He urged other learners to follow his example. “I see how the other kids are playing outside, but it is now in our hands to make sure that we know our school work.”

‘It just moved me’

Allen is studying towards a lower and pre-primary education degree at the University of Namibia.

“I saw the article and it just moved me. I told my parents that I have to meet this little boy, and help in any way I can. When I met him, he just stole my heart, along with his pupils, and now I’m here, so that I can see what I can do for him, in terms of providing him with learning content,” she said.

Andre thanked the media for the role they play in telling stories of the people.

“Although Bertius is just a young boy, he has a big heart. He saw that something needed to be done, and decided to do it. He is a hero, and as a community, we need to encourage him. Sometimes your talents are revealed at a very young age.”

Andre advised Jahs to always keep his mask on during lessons, to ensure there is sufficient distance between each of his learners and that they always keep their hands clean by practicing good hygiene.

“Other kids are running around in the streets, thinking that it is holiday time, but now he is keeping some of the children out of the street. This is definitely something to make us all proud.”

‘Make use of this time’

“I would like to encourage other parents to allow their children to do something like Bertius has done. Make use of this time to study and catch up on your schoolwork. Government has introduced e-learning but not all can access this method of learning, so let us all pitch in, and help our children,” Andre added.

The office of the governor donated writing material, a white board, as well as some snacks in the form of oranges and apples to Jahs’ class.

A non-profit organisation Roundtable 36, in conjunction with Pieter Beukes from Calidad Trading in Walvis Bay, also donated 10 small tables and chairs.

Jahs’ class has since grown from five learners to seven. He teaches Epafras Iyambo (9), Precious Khoeses (4), Princess Khoeses (4), Ujenia Keis (11), Jayline Keis (8), Genius Andreas (11) and Vaughn Khoeseb (5).

He said he appreciates the donations. “When we first started with the classes, we had to use buckets to write on. But now, the tables and chairs make it so much easier and comfortable.”

Additionally, educational booklets distributed by Namibia Media Holdings in collaboration with education ministry assisted the learners in Jahs’ class tremendously.

“It helped the young learners especially with their drawings and writing. They’re great booklets.”

He said in future, he wants to continue providing homework classes.

“I want to assist these learners so that they can be in the top 10 of their respective grades and be at prize-givings as well.”

Currently, the young teacher is focusing on his own studies since face-to-face teaching resumed on 14 September.

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