Battle over Andimba hostels

The Oshana education directorate is fighting tooth and nail to save four hostel blocks at the soon-to-be demolished Andimba Toivo Ya Toivo Senior Secondary School.

29 May 2020 | Education

ILENI NANDJATO

ONDANGWA



The leadership of Andimba Toivo Ya Toivo Senior Secondary School at Ondangwa is unhappy with Oshana education director Hileni Amukana, who is allegedly blocking the demolition of the school hostel blocks.

The education ministry has approved the demolition of the dilapidated school in order to construct a new facility, but Amukana told Namibian Sun that she and her management will not allow the hostel facilities, which can be used by other needy learners in the region, to be demolished.

She added they were not consulted.

School principal Walde Shapaka confirmed the situation, but refused to comment any further.



Hostel need

Amukana said that demolishing buildings is an expensive exercise, which she claimed was nearly equal in cost to constructing another school. She said the region is already faced with shortage of hostel facilities and therefore they would like to save costs, while creating enough facilities.

“We cannot allow physical facilities that can be used by other children to be demolished. We would like to use the demolition money to renovate existing hostel structures that are habitable, so they can accommodate learners from other secondary schools in the area who are not having a hostel,” Amukana said.

“We are not blocking the new school construction. The construction of the new school has to go ahead as planned; the contractor has already been appointed; they are on site and I have met them. All we want is for the government to save the four hostel blocks from being demolished.”

According to Amukana, when she took over as director, they were aware that the school would be renovated and refurbished.

She said this changed when a consultant came to the region.

She said the consultant snubbed the directorate, went to the school and took a decision to demolish the school and construct a new one, and this was when central government appointed a contractor.

“If the consultant could have approached the directorate for consultation, we could have made a plan and sought a suitable plot to construct a new Andimba school, then the existing school could be used for something else.

“The school will then be divided. The new school will be Andimba, but the part with the hostels we are retaining will not part of Andimba,” Amukana said.



Learners abused

There are many non-boarding schools in the region, a situation Amukana said contributes to the high failure rate. She said the region places learners at non-boarding schools because they do not have any other option due to the shortage of hostel facilities.

“Our statistics are telling us that annually most of the learners get pregnant, some get into drugs usage, some are abused by hosts who accommodate them for school, but are not their family members.

“These learners become victims and, in most cases, their futures are gravely affected.

“I will not let structures be demolished while I have learners in the region who are not doing well, especially in grade 11 and 12, just because of where they are accommodated,” she said.

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