200 pupils endure 'inhumane' hostel

31 August 2018 | Education

About 200 pupils are still being housed amid inhumane conditions in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Namibia (Elcin) hostel at Nkurenkuru.

The church has now urged the government to increase its subsidies or build a new hostel.

The learners are living in dilapidated church buildings built from clay by Finnish missionaries in the 1960s.

The buildings appear as if they are ready to collapse, and there are large, deep cracks in the walls.

The learners have their meals in the open, as there is no dining hall.

Namibian Sun observed recently that the situation remains the same as during a previous visit in January, when there were calls for the hostel to be closed down.

Reverend Ernestus Karuyeva said things are getting worse and they are receiving little support.

He said the government subsidies were not enough and should be increased so that renovations can be done.

Karuyeva said as long as the subsidies did not include payments for institutional workers, water, electricity and renovations, hostel conditions would not improve.

“We make nothing from housing the learners on behalf of the government. No one would want his or her child to be accommodated here, but what alternative do they have? Unfortunately this is the situation and something needs to be done. We would be so happy if the government constructed a hostel for the children,” he said.

A few months ago the hostel received 363 mattresses from Token Fishing, a joint venture between five fishing rights holders.

Karuyeva said a food storage facility was being built on the premises, but funding was a problem.

He called on benefactors to assist.

In January, education permanent secretary Sanet Steenkamp, explained that the church was responsible for renovating the hostel.

She added that the government was only responsible for paying subsidies.

One subsidy is for basic learner necessities, such as food and cleaning materials, and the other is for maintenance, which is paid per square metre.

Steenkamp said further efforts to address various issues in the education sector were in the pipeline.

“Everything is still evolving… we have what we call project identification forms, and based on the need of the region, the director will submit their needs.

“What we also need to keep in mind is that at this stage we have made provision for funds for pre-primary classrooms, as well as funds for community hostels in Kavango West,” Steenkamp added.

KENYA KAMBOWE

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