Etosha – A primary school is being envisioned for Etosha National Park at Namutoni, although land has not yet been availed for it, while deliberations are underway within the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture in the region to have the idea formally presented for possible implementation.
Although plans are in place, there is as yet no formal agreement between the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture and the Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET), which is the custodian of the park where the proposed school would be based.
The planned school will have classes for grades one to four and will include a pre-school. This will come as a relief to hundreds of residents within and near the park, the majority of whom work in the lodges and on farms and do not have nearby schools for their children.
There is currently only one school in the Etosha Park at Okakuejo Camp some 125 kilometres from Namutoni Resort. Children living within and near the park currently attend school at Oshivelo, some 25 kilometres away on the B1 road, as well as in Tsumeb or Omuthiya, depending on the parents’ financial position.
It is understood the MET has not yet been consulted by the Education Ministry about the planned school and where it should be constructed. However, education officials have already started working on the proposal, with a letter having been sent to the directorate of education for consideration.
This was brought to light by Constituency Councillor of Omuthiya Samuel Shivute at the Etosha East Stakeholder Forum meeting at Namutoni camp on Tuesday, which was attended by employees of various lodges and MET officials, as well as police officers and village headmen, among others.
The idea of establishing a school within the park was initiated during the last stakeholder meeting, which took place at Tamboti Camp on June 15 as part of the action plan.
The school will reside under the Oshivelo educational circuit. Circuit inspector Gotlieb Shikongo said they are waiting for an application form from the people at Namutoni for the proposal to be taken further.
“Since June or July we have been waiting for the people to submit the application to us, but to no avail… At the time I spoke to one lady, who was chairing the whole process, and I had assisted her telephonically on how to fill in the form, but she never came forth afterwards, despite having promised to hand it in the next day,” stressed Shikongo.