NTARA – Ntara Combined School in Kavango West is without ablution facilities, among many other pressing needs, forcing its more than 600 learners to visit the bush when nature calls.
The school is situated in Musese Constituency, 80 km east of Nkurenkuru.
Ntara has more than 600 learners from grades 1 to 10 but only has two dry pit latrines that were built in 2000. The latrines have been full for the past five years forcing learners use nearby bushes to relieve themselves. But some residents whose homesteads are close to the school are now complaining of a bad smell in the area.
“This affects the school in many ways,” Florinus Mpareke, the school headmaster said.
“Learners sometimes walk for one kilometre to get to the bushes to relieve themselves and so they miss classes, while people living in the school’s surroundings complain a lot regarding the situation.”
According to the headmaster, the school together with the school board committee has written numerous letters to the regional education planner through the Bunya circuit inspector Keith Sanzila but no assistance is forthcoming.
“The two dry pit latrines which were built to cater for male as well as female learners have been full for the past five years and they are even too wide for younger learners to sit on. In fact two goats have fallen into the pits and died.”
Speaking on behalf of the school board, school board chairperson Bernhard Nakare confirmed the need for toilets as a matter of urgency.
“The kids walk a distance to get to bushes and that is also risky as they can be exposed to snakes. One learner was bitten by a snake but luckily she was rushed to hospital and survived.”
The school has 12 permanent classrooms, two temporary zinc classrooms and two dry pit latrines. The the entire school is not fenced and classes are sometimes interrupted by domestic animals roaming around the school as well.
Like many schools in Kavango West, the school also suffers a shortage of textbooks, chairs and desks for learners, while the two Grade 1 classrooms have no chairs and desks at all and thus learners are taught seated on the cold concrete floor.
The teachers also have accommodation problems. Two rooms are shared by four teachers, while many have erected temporary structures to live in.
The school also has water problems from time to time as the water pump that pumps water 5km away from the school often suffers mechanical problems.
Efforts to get comments from the circuit inspector Keith Sanzila on Friday did not materialise before going to print and likewise with the education planner for the region Sevelinus Kakuni Rengura.