Ongwediva-About 342 learners at the Ongwediva Junior Secondary School are forced to brave another cold winter while being taught in windowless classrooms without doors after the Ministry of Education failed to complete construction of the new school.
The N$38 million school has been lying idle for almost four years – its completion was initially slated for 2014. Earlier this year New Era was informed that an additional N$5 million was needed to complete the installation of sewerage reticulation, the construction of a hall and the provision of electricity. However, nothing has been done to date.
Deputy director of education in Oshana Region Gerhard Ndafenongo described the situation as quite embarrassing, as the region wants to relocate learners to the new school. “There are no new developments at the school. The project is being run from the office and we have not heard anything up to now,” Ndafenongo said.
Currently, the learners are being taught in dilapidated classrooms at the ELCIN centre in Ongwediva and are exposed to severe cold weather and leaking classrooms when it rains. The current school has no windowpanes, no ceiling, nor lockable doors, while its floors are deep cracks.
During the rainy season learners are moved to one side of the classroom, where it is not leaking – which the school says disrupts classes – while at times classes have to be halted and learners have to squeeze into other classrooms when it rains heavily.
Electricity is also only accessible in the administration block – the rest of the school infrastructure is in a sorry state. When New Era visited the school earlier this year its learners complained of old, unhygienic pit latrines they use daily.
“The pit latrines are very old. There are no taps, however, the school has made provision for a bucket for us to wash our hands,” a learner said.
Once the new school starts operating, the school is expected to house 600 learners, 20 teachers and about 20 classrooms.