Omakange hostel construction shelved

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Nuusita Ashipala

Ongwediva-Construction of a hostel at I.K. Tjimuhiva Combined School has been shelved indefinitely after government failed to settle the contractor’s invoices amounting to N$16 million.
The hostel was expected to be completed at least by next May and cater for over 500 learners currently at the school.

Currently the school has no electricity supply, but the community felt optimistic that the school would finally be electrified once the hostel is constructed.

The Director of Education in Omusati, Laban Shapange, confirmed construction of the hostel had stopped, but he could not state when the construction would resume again.

“The construction is at an advanced stage. We hope that the ministry will come to the rescue so that the construction can be completed as scheduled,” Shapange stated.

Apart from I.K. Tjimuhiva, the learners from Hiaukambe and Uutsathima combined schools are also accommodated in poorly equipped hostels to cut the long distances they travel.

The school, which is situated at Omakange, has no electricity, no potable water and depends solely on borehole water.

In addition, the school currently also depends on gas and wood for cooking. Learners bath in makeshift bathrooms and also use pit latrines.

New Era has learnt the school previously used solar power, but the batteries have since given up, and the school now uses two power generators for lighting and studying.
“But the exercise is costly because the school has to spend money to secure petrol and the region does not have a budget to purchase the fuel,” said Shapange.

Shapange said as a result of the cost of fuel, the school was forced to suspend evening studies for all the other grades because it could only afford to light one hall at night.
The director said the region had also taken an initiative to do a study to see how best to address the lighting predicament as it affected the school’s learning progress.

“If there is a need to buy batteries we would do that because we want our learners to excel,” said Shapange.
The much-anticipated hostel is planned to cater for the more than 500 learners at the school.

Last month the same school had to release close to 500 learners after the region ran out of food.
The ministry owed the catering company supplying food to three regions including Omusati about N$30 million.

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