Bushes for toilets, no houses

Teachers up in arms over conditions

04 October 2019 | Education

Disgruntled educators at Katjinakatji Combined School in Kavango West are calling on government to complete the construction of teacher houses at the school, which were abandoned in 2015. The teachers are forced to rent structures near the school and have to make use of the bushes or school toilets when nature calls.

A teacher explained that while others are forced to live in difficult and unpleasant circumstances, some are accommodated at existing teacher houses where they do not pay rent.

The incomplete two-bedroom houses are without windows and roofing.

The doors and window frames are rusted after being exposed to weather conditions over the years.

School principal Petrus Sipipa said the issue of the incomplete houses has been raised at different platforms, yet the situation remains the same.

The school has 34 teachers, the majority of whom are not from the area or the region.

“The situation is not good because some teachers have to rent rooms constructed not far from the school and they are not enough.

“Some have resorted to constructing temporary zinc structures on a plot allocated to them. However, the issue of ablution facilities remains a challenge.

“The teachers either have to go to school to make use of the toilet or use the bushes, which is not a situation one wants to find him or herself in,” Sipipa said.

A teacher said their rights have to be respected.

Kavango West education director, Theopolina Hamutumwa said the situation is no different from that of Kasivi Combined School, which Namibian Sun reported on earlier this year.

In July, Namibian Sun reported on how incomplete teacher houses at Kasivi have been turned into ablution facilities by the learners, who opt not to go to the bush when nature calls.

Education ministry spokesperson Absalom Absalom referred Namibian Sun to the response the ministry gave back in July.

Absalom explained the project was delayed because Reggy's Trading, the contractor that was awarded the tender to construct 23 bachelor flats and two-bedroom units in the Kavango West and Ohangwena regions, could not complete the project and the contract was terminated.

Absalom said Reggy's Trading did not accept the termination and the matter was being dealt with by the two parties' lawyers.

“The contract was terminated due to the contractor's inability to complete the project within the stipulated period. As to when the project is likely to be completed, there are issues around the termination of the contract and the contractor is aggrieved by this.

“As such, the matter is being handled by our lawyers. Also, a summons was issued to the contractor to appear in court,” Absalom said.

He said to date none of the planned buildings have been completed.

He said N$14.9 million was allocated for the project, and over N$6 million was paid to the contractor.

Kavango West governor Sirkka Ausiku bemoaned the issue during her 2019 State of the Region Address (SORA).

A lack of housing in rural areas has a negative impact on schools, as it discourages teachers from accepting positions.