School devastated by fire

Based on the nature of the damage, the entire classroom block will have to be demolished.

30 December 2019 | Education

KENYA KAMBOWE



The Kavango West education directorate is in a race against time to rebuild a five-classroom block at Sinzogoro Senior Primary School, which was gutted by a fire recently.

Regional education director Teopolina Hamutumwa said they are busy engaging a number of stakeholders.

“We are busy trying to see how best we can deal with the matter. We have started engaging different stakeholders; in fact we have started with the procurement process as we are busy assessing the damage caused,” Hamutumwa said.

The incident happened in the early hours of 20 December.

Villagers observed smoke coming from the direction of the school, after which they alerted the school management.

When Namibian Sun visited the school, which is situated at Sinzogoro village about 30 kilometres west of Rundu, it found that the roofing, classroom furniture, windows, doors and electrical wiring was completely destroyed.

Attempts to get comment from school principal, Joseph Sikongo proved futile, as his phone remained unreachable. He also did not respond to a text message.

Sikongo was, however, interviewed by NBC on the day of the incident. He said he suspected the fire was caused by a faulty electrical wiring system.

He alleged the matter was reported to the regional education directorate and the works ministry, but no action was taken.

“This situation has been reported through the directorate of education and through the ministry of works and transport; they know about this situation. Actually the electrical cable is not well, because sometimes it goes on and off sometimes,” Sikongo told the national broadcaster

Hamutumwa said the problem with the wiring could have been reported by Sikongo, but it never reached her office.

Hamutumwa said with no forensic investigation carried out as yet, it is not yet known what caused of the fire.

The school, which offers classes from Grade 1 to 8, enrols about 500 learners per year. This number is expected to increase next year because of the introduction of Grade 9 at the school.

Hamutumwa said temporary structures will be constructed, which includes tents, while the classroom is being rebuilt.

She said based on the nature of the damage, the entire building will have to be demolished.

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