By: Annakleta Haikera
Sitenda Junior Primary School head Theresia Kantema says it is a pity that the school is experiencing many problems during her tenure.
The school is located 34 kilometres from Rundu in Ncamagoro Circuit in the Kavango West Region. It offers Grade 0 to three.
There are 78 learners, and more than 40 learners are from the San community.
The pupils have no toilet, while the teachers use pit latrines. All the classrooms at the school are makeshift structures made either of corrugated iron sheets or mud.
Kantema says it’s a pity she has to be the principal since she deals with many challenges, among them a shortage of necessary teaching tools.
“How do you teach a child who doesn’t know much about the quality of education? The school has three teachers and one volunteering teacher who want to help with activities. When the kids want to use the toilet, they will run to the bush, and she will escort them there for safety,” Kantema says.
Kantema also says the school doesn’t have a proper office or better classrooms. She said there is no fence around the school to prevent livestock from destroying the makeshift structures.
The head says the school had not fed the learners for more than two months.
“Some learner’s also don’t come to school with proper uniforms. We want to ask for help from anyone or the line ministry to assist us with proper structures,” Kantema says.
A school board member, Theresia Mukoso, expressed concern about how learners are taught in mud and corrugated iron structures 22 years after independence.
“We have never seen the director of education coming to the school and visiting the learners to know the type of condition these learners are forced to live in.
“Even if these learners are sick, the sickness will spread very fast, the school started with five learners, but we now have 78 learners. We genuinely need proper school structures to improve these learners’ living standards,” Mukoso says.
Benhard Kavau Kavau from the Student Union of Namibia, who donated 50 pieces of clothes to the San learners at the school, told Eagle FM that the education ministry officials should stop sleeping in their offices and help out such schools in building sustainable classrooms.
Kavau further says schools and communities need assistance and that the government must do more, especially minister Anna Nghipondoka.
“It’s sad to see how learners here are suffering. There are no toilets, not enough books, tables and chairs. The importance is taking care of those that need help,” Kavau says.
A mother whose child attends the school, Helni Ncame, says some children pretend to go to school but instead opt to hide in the bush because the school is far.
Ncama feels left out because most of the children attending the school are from the san community.
“Our children go to school hungry because we have nothing to give them. We also have problems with buying stationeries. I am unemployed. Where will I get money to buy what my children need?” she asks.
Ncame says her daughter quit school because she could not walk from home 30 kilometres to a school that offers Grades 4 to 7.
The daughter, Ncame says, became a mother aged 14.