The finished dining hall of Rev. Juuso Shikongo
The Education Director for Oshikoto region, Lameck Kafidi, has confirmed to The Villager that learners and teachers from the Reverend Juuso Shikongo Secondary School in Omuntele constituency school are still accommodated at Uukule Secondary School in Onyaanya constituency, following last week’s revelations about the slow pace of progress by The Villager.
“At first, it appeared as though the school would be finished in the middle of this year. Therefore, as a directorate we decided that it would be inappropriate if the buildings were finished and yet there are no learners to occupy them. This is the main reason we decided to have the learners admitted although construction at of the school was not finished yet,” said Kafidi.
Asked if there is pressure on the contractor to finish the school on time, Kafidi said that the construction of the school is going according to schedule. He further added that the original agreement was that the contractor would give the school to the Government in 2012.
He further denied that the Ministry is charging the contractor an unspecified amount for not finishing the school on time adding that no one was promised that the school would be ready for classes mid this year.
“There is no concern whatsoever that the contractor has delayed finishing the school and we have not received any complaints from the principal or learners as their classes are being catered for at Uukule,” said Kafidi.
However, Omuntele Constituency councillor, Sacky Nangula told The Villager that there have been delays in finishing the school construction. He noted that the contractor faced numerous challenges that slowed down the construction process.
“There have been challenges in the construction process stemming from theft of building materials to the floods. As you know, some of those that were involved in the theft of building materials were arrested and others brought them back and this had an impact on the budgeting of the buildings,” said Nangula.
Nangula said most of the culprits are outside prison on bail.
Initially, Rev. Juuso Shikongo Secondary School was planned to be the school of excellence in Oshikoto region where only bright learners and hardworking teachers would be accommodated.
Meanwhile, Uukule Senior Secondary School Hostel Superintendent Tuutaleni Hango says although there have been no incidents of violence between the two group of learners, there are social challenges in terms of feeding the learners and pressure on the sewage system.
“Of course there are few social challenges when it comes to feeding the learners as our dining hall capacity is limited. There is also pressure on our sewage system as the school was only built to accommodate around 600 learners yet currently, there are more than 900 learners in the hostel. But the situation is under control and we do not have any serious challenges,” said Hango.
“Our concern is to educate the Namibian child and the principal of Uukule and his staff have been very helpful to us. However, it is a fact that our learners are longing to move to the new school and I am happy that the school will finally be finished this November and we will move at the beginning of 2012,” said the Principal of Rev. Juuso Shikongo Secondary School, Pinehas Ekongo.
Ekongo appealed to the private sponsors to help his new school with teaching aids, library books and computers to facilitate the learning of the pupils.
The President of Reverend Juuso Shikongo Secondary School’s Learners Representative Council (LRC), Festus Shatoolwa also said that his fellow learners are longing to be at their new school, particularly the grade 11.
“We have been here since January and now we are hearing that we will only move next year. Each semester, we were told that we will move soon but that has never happened. Academically, we are performing well and we would like the Honourable Minister of Education to get involved and push the contractor to finish our school,” said Shatoolwa.
Shatoolwa noted that his fellow learners are being affected psychologically as they do not have their own space adding that sometimes they are subjected to bullying and name calling particularly the term “Angolan” which is used to refer to any new learner at Uukule.
Currently, the school has two grades 8 and a single grade 11 and the total number of learners is 90.