Mass hysteria suspected at Amateta Combined School

The Ministry of Education, Arts, and Culture is looking into reports of learners fainting and speaking incoherently at Amateta Combined School in the Oshikoto Region’s Onankali circuit.

The director of education in the Oshikoto Region, Alletta Eises told Nampa in an interview on Thursday so far, 18 learners have exhibited the behaviour.

She said they suspect that the learners are exhibiting signs of mass hysteria, but the Directorate of Education, Arts and Culture’s special education team will visit the school to investigate.

‘The inspector is on the ground and the matter is under control. No learner has been physically harmed and the directorate is assisting the learners,’ said Eises.

In the latest incident, four learners reportedly collapsed and started rolling around on the ground while at school.

The school’s principal, Martin Namushinga said the incidents started occurring in August but have been most prominent during examinations, mostly affecting Grade 9 learners.

‘Learners have just been collap
sing any time of the day,’ said Namushinga.

Lusia Pwadjomuti, a mother of a Grade 9 learner, said she is shocked by the situation.

‘I do not know what is happening with my daughter, she speaks of a certain woman and a learner in her class,’ said Pwadjomuti.

Similar incidents have been reported at schools elsewhere in the country before.

In 2014, the parents of learners at a combined school in the Omusati Region blamed the principal and a teacher there for what they said were ‘demonic attacks’ at the school.

Acting director of education, Loide Shatiwa however dismissed the parents’ claims, saying mass hysteria is to blame and the children just need counselling.

In 2017, Shikeva Combined School in the Ohangwena Region cancelled classes after 21 learners fell to the floor and screamed during assembly in apparent fits of mass hysteria.

While the exact cause of mass hysteria is unknown, it is believed to be a psychosomatic disorder that is often triggered by stress and anxiety. It can amongst others lead to
fainting, headaches and convulsions.

Source: The Namibian Press Agency