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Ministry fails Walvis Bay school

by Linekela Halwoodi



The Ministry of Education has missed its deadline to build classrooms for the !Nara Primary School in Walvis Bay.
Instead, the ministry has now resorted to using tents in which 5th and 6th graders will be taught in this harsh and uncompromising winter.
 “They are putting the kids in an unconducive environment. They could do that in the North as it is hot there but Walvis Bay is cold and windy,” a teacher said on terms of anonymity.
The school was built to accommodate over 300 learners from grades one to five who could not be placed at the nearby Tutaleni Primary School last year.
The running of afternoon classes was not effective when most teachers argued that the learners would be exhausted by the time they come to school as they would be playing the whole morning.
The school started operating last year with 10 classrooms and was supposed to temporarily accommodate students in the afternoon with plans of changing classes to mornings after the ministry had built more classrooms.
Construction of more classes was supposed to start last year in March but nothing had been done until about two weeks ago when the ministry put up tents.
This was supposed to move learners from afternoon to morning classes but when the deadline passed; the school was rescued by the Walvisbay fishing company, Merlus Fishing that build eight classrooms last year after when the Ministry didn’t do anything.
Despite the classrooms being donated by Merlus Fishing, the school still needs more classrooms to accommodate all its learners but the ministry did not do anything until two weeks ago when it put up tents to accommodate the 5th and 6th graders.
An official from the Ministry of Works and Transport, Frans Hastfierdt, however, says the Ministry of Education was not given the go-ahead by the department of Works to put up the tents.
“We only assist the Ministry of Education by maintaining the buildings since we do not do construction work. They ask us for a quotations and we find contractors when they need to build new facilities. We did not tell the Ministry of Education to put up those tents,” Hastfierdt said.
The Ministry of Education, this week admitted that tents are not suitable for classes in Walvis Bay but it does not have a permanent solution to the problem.
“The tents in Walvis Bay are a problem now especially in this weather. We will probably remove the tents, and take them to other schools,” a ministry official John Ferres said.
He also said the tents can be easily blown away.
“We do not have funds to construct classrooms. Afternoon classes will probably continue. The final decision has not been made. This is only what we are discussing,” he added.
Some parents have also expressed concern that their children are attending school in tents during winter as Walvis Bay is tuberculosis prone.