Learners in dire straits

A teacher who spoke on condition of anonymity told Namibian Sun the situation is dire, adding that it is painful to watch learners, including three pregnant girls, sitting on the ground the entire day.

21 February 2020 | Education

At Sinzogoro Combined School in the Kavango West Region, 130 learners are taught in tents where they sit on the ground to take notes.

The situation exposes both learners and teachers to snakes.

This is in the aftermath of a fire that destroyed a five-classroom block at the school last December.

Social media was abuzz this week after pictures of the harsh conditions the learners endure were shared by stakeholders who castigated government and the education authorities for allowing the situation.

When Namibian Sun visited the school earlier this week, some of the teachers also expressed their grievances, saying they want the matter to be addressed.

One of the teachers who spoke on condition of anonymity told Namibian Sun the situation is dire, adding that watching learners sitting on the ground the entire day is painful. The teacher further revealed that among the 130 learners affected, three girls are pregnant.

“I am not feeling well. The learners are sitting on the floor from morning to afternoon. This also includes us as teachers who have to stand the whole 45 minutes because there are no chairs and desks in the tents,” the teacher said. Most of the time, the learners are tired, which affects their concentration levels and participation during lessons, the teacher further revealed.

“Although the tents are new and we don't get soaked when it rains, the noise when the rain pours is a huge distraction and class only resumes when it stops raining. We really need assistance,” the teacher said.

Meanwhile, principal Travolta Sikongo refused to shed light on the situation, saying the Kavango West education directorate is attending to the matter.

When contacted for comment, regional education director Teopolina Hamutumwa told Namibian Sun that the situation at Sinzogoro Combined School is receiving her office's attention, adding that stakeholders such as the Rundu, Zambezi and Eenhana vocational training centres will provide the school with furniture.

The official handover is expected to take place on 6 March, Hamutumwa said.

On the issue of the reconstruction the classroom block that was destroyed by the fire, Hamutumwa said her directorate has commenced with the procurement process and construction will be done through an agreement with the Rundu vocational training centre.

Namibian Sun has established that when the classroom block was gutted by a mysterious fire, the school received a huge blow in terms of valuables lost.

It is estimated that the destroyed goods amount to N$500 000, including a number of photocopier machines, computers, textbooks, sport kits, petty cash and important documents and files.

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