By Reagan Malumo
Communities and teachers at Ngonga Primary School, some 140 kilometres west of Katima Mulilo, are not amused by the decision to downgrade their school.
The downgrading of the school from grade seven to grade four in the Ngonga area was undertaken a few years ago.
Speaking on behalf of the community of Ngonga, during a handover ceremony of five newly constructed teachers’ houses , village headman Rexson Tunapu pleaded with the Ministry of Education to urgently reverse its decision.
He said learners at the school should be allowed to go up to grade seven classes. The new teachers’ houses were constructed through the food-for-work programme and with assistance from the community, the Ministry of Regional, Local Government and Housing and Rural Development; and the Ministry of Education.
According to the headman, the fact that the community was actively involved in the construction of these houses denotes the community’s commitment to see their children get proper education at the local school.
He identified the prevailing situation as a nightmare to parents and learners who according to him have been compelled since 2002 to walk 10 kilometres on foot every day to attend school.
Tunapu also stressed the need for a water pipe to be laid to the school because the school has been operating without water. He disclosed that since the school has just employed a new secretary, the Ministry of Education should see to it that computers are provided to the school. Currently, the school has to ask other distant schools for help, which according to him is too disruptive to the education of learners at the school.
In a speech delivered on his behalf by the Deputy Director for Rural Development Manfred Menjengua, the Minister of Regional, Local Government and Housing and Rural Development John Pandeni urged communities of Ngonga not to regard these new structures as a waste of resources but rather to safeguard and maintain them for their own benefit.
Pandeni confirmed that it is the prerogative of the Government to promote the food-for-work programme in order to empower communities. He urged the community to embrace issues of gender equality in matters of development but with special emphasis placed on required distinctive characteristics.
Meanwhile, the Caprivi Regional Governor Bernard Sibalatani warned teachers to stop commuting from town, and that since they have received new houses there is no need for them to travel up and down but remain at their duty stations.
“These houses are similar to the ones in Katima,” stressed Sibalatani.
The Director of Education in the Caprivi Region Lovemore Lupalezwi applauded the regional council for assisting communities in the region with regard to educational matters, especially through the construction of teachers’ houses.