DHPS Statement on Discrimination

Dear learners, parents and the community at large

In the spirit of transparency, we would like to bring the following to your attention.
As the management and staff of the Deutsche Höhere Privatschule Windhoek (DHPS), we firmly believe in fundamental democratic values and equality for all as set out in the Namibian Constitution and by the United Nations. The DHPS as an institution is firm in its opposition of any form of discrimination. In addition to this, we acknowledge historic prejudices as well as the resultant inequality created and feel a deep empathy for those that have suffered personal injury as a result, whether physical or emotional.
However, we acknowledge the fact that discrimination is not a thing of history and remains one of Namibian society’s greatest challenges, and by extension also at our school among our learners – sometimes unintentional or even borne out of a lack of education or understanding. In order to address this huge challenge, we have begun to implement the following measures:

  1. A position was created within the school management to deal with these incidents as they are reported. Additionally this position is tasked with facilitating changes to both the structure and curriculum of the school to favour inclusion.
  2. In 2018 the integrated “Local roots, global minds” initiative was started with the Junior Secondary becoming one stream, the previous German and English were integrated in one class. The medium of instruction is in both German and English depending on the subject, team teaching in Mathematics and German Foreign Language was introduced as an additional support. The ultimate aim is to allow more learners access to the German International Abitur school-leaving certificate.
  3. As the topic of discrimination needs to be addressed in an open and honest way, the DHPS set up an action group consisting of members of the school board, school management, staff, learners and parents five years ago. After various meetings, a facilitated workshop took place in November 2019 where the terms of reference were finalised and subsequently officially accepted by the school board.
  4. Dedicated learners with some of their teachers have initiated a dialogue among the learners with regards to discrimination: racism and prejudice in particular. The initial targeted group was grade 11 and 12 learners as they were the only ones at school during that period. These discussions were facilitated to “get a feel” for the atmosphere as well as create awareness for how some of our learners have suffered, even in our environment where they had every right to feel safe and secure. A summary of these incidents was written to present to the action group, school management and the school board to aid them in their formulation of a plan of action as well as guide them to the places where most attention was needed. Most of the incidences were reported at the time they had happened (some as far back as 6 years) and dealt with according to our code of conduct along with an exhaustive investigation.
  5. The school has and will continue to facilitate sensitivity training for staff and learners alike to eliminate hurt caused by a lack of knowledge and awareness.
  6. As part of the competition "Remembrance for the Present” initiated by the German Federal Foreign Office and the Central Agency of German Schools Abroad (ZfA) the DHPS developed projects on the culture of remembrance in their own school and regional historical context. The DHPS submitted a teaching unit and project newspaper developed by the learners which focuses on coming to terms with the separate and common past of all Namibian population groups. In addition to that a museum booth will be installed on the school premises to acknowledge our shared past and history.

We are not proud that discrimination still happens at school and in our society. It saddens us that there is still a long way to go before we can claim a truly inclusive environment for all our students, staff and parents. As an institution we welcome any contribution that can shorten that road somewhat.

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