School needs N$1m to build hostel

This is Uahekua Herunga Primary School, which has two classrooms and the storeroom.

Aside from the long walk to school and the risks from elephants and other wild animals, the hostel is far too small at the Uahekua Herunga Primary School in Omusati Region.

The school is looking for money to add onto the hostel in order to attract more learners. At the moment the hostel consists of two small clay-walled rooms and the school currently has 50 learners and teaches Grades 1 to 4.

Children who live about 10 kilometres away from the school do not attend classes because parents fear their children will be attacked by elephants that roam in the area. School principal Uaaruka Tjiuma said should they get assistance to build a hostel, they will accommodate 60 female and 60 male learners.

The school will need at least N$1 million for the project, which will include the acquisition of beds, kitchen, toilets and bathroom and labour.

Tjiuma said the school currently asks N$5 a term per learner to collect funds for the construction but the communities live in poverty and many parents cannot afford the meagre payment.

The school is formerly known as Otjorute Primary School was renamed by Deputy Minister of Environment and Tourism Uahekua Herunga this year.

The school was built in 1997 with funding assistance from Raleigh International, which was present in the country at that time.

The school has two classrooms and a tiny storeroom that serves as the principal’s office. The Government assists with text books and salaries.
Oshidonga is the medium of instruction while English is taught in Grade 4.

The school uses multi-grade teaching whereby grades 1 and 2 are taught together while grades 3 and 4 together. There is also a kindergarten.

The cleaners at the school serve as the kindergarten teachers. Many children end their schooling after Grade 4 because they have nowhere to go.

“It is very sad and painful to look back, that the school was established in 1997 but so far we only managed to take five learners to reach Grade 12,” Tjiuma said.

He noted that the children are brilliant but the importance of education is not known in the marginalised and indigenous community.

The principal said they have been asking for assistance from the Omusati regional directorate to build the hostel and two additional classrooms but to no avail.

During the renaming of the school some community members pledged to donate cement which they delivered, while some have not delivered what they have promised.

The school has no electricity, photocopy machine or computer.

“I use my own money to travel to Ruancana or Onesi to make copies or to use a computer to type documents,” remarked Tjiuma.

He added that the chalkboards are very old and have holes in them and the school does not have enough desks and chairs for the learners.

The floor of the classrooms is in a dilapidated state and in June 2008 the school requested the regional directorate of the Ministry of Works and

Transport to repair the floor and after a flood assessment.

When the school follows on this, the directorate simply informs them that the request has been forwarded to the headquarters in Windhoek.

There are 140 homesteads surrounding Otjorute.

Children of school age and young people are the highest population groups in the village.

Source: Namibian Sun