Vaalgras classrooms without roofs since 2014

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Photo: Matheus Hamutenya Not conducive… Learners at the Vaalgras Primary School are taught in the roofless classrooms a year on from the storm that destroyed several of them.

Vaalgras

Parents at Vaalgras are frustrated about what they say is the lack of action to renovate the classrooms that were left roofless after a raging storm in 2014.

Fifteen months after the roofs of several classrooms were blown off in November 2014, they are yet to be replaced and this has forced the school to teach in makeshift classrooms, which the parents say is not conducive for the teaching of their children.

A proposed work programme seen by New Era indicates the tender for the renovation of the classrooms was initially set to be approved in June last year, with the site handover also supposed to be done in the same month for work to start.

But until now the tender has not been advertised, much to the dismay of the parents.

Frustration among parents has grown to the extent that they have attempted to seek an audience with the //Karas Regional Governor Lucia Basson.

A letter seen by New Era addressed to the regional governor by the school board chairperson Daniel Apollus, dated 14th January 2016, indicates their frustrations, saying their pleas fell on deaf ears.

Apollus says it is his belief that more than a year after the classrooms were destroyed, something should have been done to remedy the situation but nothing is yet to happen and thus political intervention is needed.

He says the current learning environment is of concern as it threatens the safety and lives of learners.

“The roofless cracked old school buildings on the premises remain life threatening to the Namibian child trying to learn as any other child in the land,” he said.

Some parents also expressed their frustrations on how slow it is taking the relevant authorities to renovate the classrooms, while some said they have given up because they are always told it will be done but that is yet to become a reality.

The education director of the //Karas Region, |Awebahe ||Hoeseb, said he is aware of the dire conditions of the school, but added that his office has done its best to fast-track the renovations but the process is not as quick and simple as it seems.

Coming short of calling the process bureaucratic, he explained that emergency cases are directly handled by the head office in Windhoek and thus people should be patient.

He assured the parents the renovations will start as soon as possible, stating that the permanent secretary has pledged and committed to speed up the process.

“We are aware of the dire situation in which they are operating,” he said.

He added that the documentation of the project is finalised and what is now left is just a tender number and for the tender to be finally advertised, a process he believes should be done by April.

He further said that when he visited the school on Tuesday to explain the progress made so far, he found that the roof of the classroom that was not destroyed in 2014 was also blown off recently.

“I found very motivated teachers and frustrated parents, the situation looks bleak,” he said.

He however assured the Vaalgras community that sooner rather than later all will be well, saying they should trust the government as it never makes empty promises.

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