Ageing hostels fall apart amidst scant funding

30 July 2019 | Education

The rundown condition of a 29-year-old government hostel in the Kavango East Region is not an isolated problem, an education official has said.

The same situation is experienced at many schools, while funding for renovations remains scarce or non-existent.

“The majority of the hostels and schools in the [Kavango East] region were built before and shortly after independence. Hence, most of those hostels and schools are in a dilapidated state and some ablution facilities are dysfunctional due to sewerage drainage systems that are very old and need to be replaced,” Kavango East regional education director Fanuel Kapapero told Namibian Sun this week.

He said the directorate was well aware of the dilapidated conditions at some state schools, including the hostel at the Omega Combined School, but regular maintenance and upgrades are hindered by lack of funding.

“However, due to unavailability of funds for maintenance as well as limited funds for renovation received from the central government over the years, the region was unable to renovate all our hostels at once.”

He was responding to concerns raised by a Namibian Sun reader about the “very poor condition” of the girls' hostel at the Omega Combined School in the region.

“We are fully aware of the situation at the hostel through our normal routine visits,” Kapapero said.

He said the hostel was built in 1990/91, shortly after independence.

He denied that the girls had no access to indoor bathrooms, as had been claimed by the source. He said the girls' dormitory has three showers and three toilets.



Way forward

The directorate recently instructed a task team of works inspectors from the education directorate to conduct an assessment at the hostel. The team was also asked to obtain quotations from local contractors, and to appoint a successful bidder to “start with the minor renovations as soon as funds are made available,” Kapapero said.

He added that the relevant school inspectors would be reminded to submit their needs for the 2020/21 financial year for possible consideration for hostel renovations.

Kapapero called on schools to make use of available funds, including the universal primary and secondary education grants, to carry out some of the minor renovations.

Additionally, he also appealed to the “community to assist us with funds to renovate our schools and hostels.”

Despite the scarcity of funds, minor renovations have been carried out at the school during the past three financial years, valued at N$774 162.29, he added.

These included the supply and installation of a freezer room and a cooking pot and frying pan, as well as minor repairs of electrical and mechanical equipment.

JANA-MARI SMITH

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