Ongwediva-One of the top private schools in Ongwediva closed for business last week due to the alleged nonpayment of rent by the school. The owners of The Integrity School have allegedly not paid rent to their landlord and owners of the property, Makalani Real Estate, for the past six months.
The arrears is said to amount to an estimated N$200,000. This resulted in Makalani involving lawyers and the school being closed down.
Parents of learners at The Integrity School were shocked when they realised that the gates of the school where they normally drop off their children every morning had padlocks on. When they sought clarity some teachers allegedly told them to just leave the children behind, as the person who had the keys to the school was late and was only expected to come at 08h00.
Angry parents claimed that on Tuesday last week after school their children brought letters home, informing them that Wednesday classes were suspended, as all teachers would be attending a meeting. Unsuspecting parents allowed their children to stay at home on Wednesday, but when they took children to school on Thursday morning they were again met by locked gates.
The parents later learned that the children were confined to a smaller space, opposite the main building where most children are taught. This prompted some parents to start collecting their children.
“It is dripping and our children are just there confined as if they were goats on sale. They are crying and fighting each other, because they are stressed. I took my children home, but I still feel that the school owes us an explanation,” one irate parent told New Era.
“We pay school fees, yet our children are deprived and no explanation is offered,” said another.
Although New Era could not confirm the number of children affected, Integrity Private School offers tuition for grades 1 to 7. Some learners were expected to start with their national exams on Thursday this week. “Now what will happen to us? We want education,” said one of them.
School director John Ikondja refused to comment much and referred this reporter to the landlord when asked to confirm if it was true that the school was locked due to nonpayment. “I have no comment, I did not receive a letter that the school was going to close down. You can confirm with the owners of the building. I did not receive a letter from them,” Ikondja said briefly.
Jerome Schmidt of Makalani Real Estate said several notices were sent to Ikondja through their lawyer and a sheriff, but the school failed to honour its contractual obligations. “What notice is he talking about? It is very unfortunate that parents have to pay every month and John (Ikondja) takes the money and parents have to suffer, but anyway we are working out something,” Schmidt said.
He would, however, not specify what alternative arrangement Makalani and their tenants were working on.