'Too far for lunch'

08 March 2019 | Education

Some learners in the Kavango West Region attend afternoon sessions at school on empty stomachs because they live too far away to walk home for lunch.

On a recent visit to the Nkurenkuru Combined School, the school's principal, Frans Ngoma, told Namibian Sun that a number of learners attended extra lessons in the afternoon on an empty stomach.

The learners were seen sitting under trees after the rest of the school's pupils had gone home.

Namibian Sun understands that most of these learners do not have breakfast either, meaning that their last meal was the previous evening's supper.

“Those learners come from far-away villages and they are forced by the situation not to go home to get a meal and return for extra classes and study sessions,” Ngoma said.

“Afternoon extra classes are compulsory and sometimes the learners sit for tests. This is why you see them at school because going home, which is about 10 kilometres away from school, just to get a meal, which in most cases is not guaranteed at all, has left them with no option but to hang in there and wait for the classes to end.”

Ngoma said the school, which has about 2 000 learners, does not have a hostel and senior pupils do not benefit from the school feeding programme.

The school feeding programme only caters for learners from grades one to seven.

About 200 of the school's pupils live at a dilapidated building owned by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Namibia (Elcin), which is about one kilometre from the school. When contacted for comment, the Kavango West education director, Teopolina Hamutumua, said the absence of a school hostel was causing hardship for learners and teachers alike.

A feasibility study on the construction of a school hostel at Nkurenkuru was conducted in 2014.

Hamutumua said the project was at an advanced stage and bids would be invited later this year.

KENYA KAMBOWE

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