Learners sent home over broken pots

23 January 2020 | Education

The over 1 200 learners at Max Makushe Senior Secondary School in the Kavango East Region have been sent home until further notice because of broken cooking pots and cold-storage rooms.

Although Kavango East education director Fanuel Kapapero says the problem will be sorted out by tomorrow, a cloud of uncertainty still lingers as the procurement process has yet to be finalised.

Kapapero however remains adamant that the matter will be resolved as soon as possible.

The learners were released from school on Tuesday by the school's management for fear that they would either go hungry or get ill from spoilt food.

Of the 1 206 learners enrolled at the school this year, 1 055 are accommodated in the hostel.

Late last year, about 400 learners at the school suffered food poisoning after eating bread that had gone bad in the dysfunctional cold-storage rooms. When Namibian Sun visited the school, situated about 180 kilometres east of Rundu, the premises were deserted except for teachers.

Principal Godfrey Mukata said the problem with the electric cooking pots started last October.

Mukata added that the Kavango East education directorate had been informed about the situation last year.

“The regional directorate has been informed on various occasions since last year October as well as last week Saturday.



“We are simply waiting upon them to resolve the matter,” he said.

Of the four industrial-size cookers in the hostel kitchen, only one is operational but it takes about six hours to come to the boil, Mukata said.

“We have four pots but only one is working. If the pot is switched on at 03:00, it will only start to boil at 09:00, which is a long period of time. We tried to use one pot to cater for the learners but it is not working,” he said.

When the problem started last year, they resorted to feeding learners bread with coffee or juice, Mukata said.

Asked when the learners were likely to return to school, Mukata said once the issues had been resolved.

He referred further questions on the matter to the Kavango East education directorate.

When contacted for comment, Kapapero, who expressed his displeasure with what had happened, said it was an unfortunate situation but would be resolved soon.

Kapapero said funds for the necessary repairs were available and the delay was a result of bureaucracy, as the directorate falls under the Kavango Regional Council where procedures need to be followed.

The estimated cost to repair the cookers and cold-storage rooms is in the range of N$300 000, he said.

“The biggest enemy is bureaucracy. This matter was supposed to be treated as an emergency.”

He added that learners could expect to return to school this Sunday.

KENYA KAMBOWE

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