Delays beset new Ongwediva school

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Nuusita Ashipala

Ongwediva-Three years after the N$38 million Ongwediva Junior Secondary School was expected to be handed over it remains unoccupied, while 342 learners are taught in dilapidated classrooms exposed to severe weather.

The fabricated school at ELCIN centre in Ongwediva has no window panes, no ceilings, no lockable doors and its floors are pockmarked.

Electricity is only accessible in the main administration block, as the rest of the school’s infrastructure remains in a sorry state.

“When it rains we are moved to one side of the classroom, while during winter we are exposed to the cold weather because the classrooms have no window panes and no doors which makes it hard for us to concentrate,” related a learner at the school.

Not too far from the school gate, are pit-latrines used by the 342 learners, a situation learners say they want to get away with.

“At least the school has made provision for a bucket to wash our hands,” said a learner pointing to a bucket at the pit latrine.

But as to when the students will eventually relocate to the newly constructed multi-million-dollar school remains a mystery.

The school principal, Immanuel Nepela, who operates from a small office refused to shed light when asked when learners from makeshift schools would relocate to the new school – instead he referred all inquiries to the regional education directorate in Oshana.

The new school whose opening has been delayed is set to accommodate 600 learners, 20 teachers and will have 20 classrooms.

The school was initially expected to be handed over on March 17, 2014 but the deadline was postponed several times after the initial contractor, Uukumwe failed to complete the project on time.

The contract with Uukumwe contractors has since been terminated and an assessment made to determine what still needs to be done in order for the school to be completed for its delayed opening.

Sources are saying an additional N$5 million is needed to complete the installation of its sewerage, to construct a new school hall and for the commissioning of electricity at the school.

The Education Deputy Director in Oshana Region Gerhard Ndafenongo said the school will not be relocating soon as the region is in the process appointing a new contractor after the second appointed contractor also withdrew from the project.

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