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Schools not safe for children

Mon, 22 September 2014 03:47
by Theodor Uukongo

Schools in Windhoek are rarely prepared to deal with emergency situations with most of this responsibility left to the parents to deal with.
Besides education the safety of learners is one of the top priorities schools have to deal with and The Villager has learned that in the event of injury schools rarely have the measures in place to deal with such situations.
Most of these schools only have sick bays. Even with medical aid kits dispensed, most teachers are not trained in first aid and depend on hospitals to deliver emergency medical care.
Principal of Augustiniuem Secondary School Millie Ferreira has said that they do not have the adequate equipment to deal with certain emergencies. “At the moment we take the kids to the hospital if it is an emergency situation after that we call the parents” Ferreira said.
She added that they do have a medical aid kit at the school, but that it only caters for small injuries such as scratches or headaches. Also, the school has no fire extinguishers and in the event of a fire they would have to come up with their own way to fight the fire.
Principal of the Theo Katjimune Primary School, Alpheus //Gaseb said that if a child is injured they have to call the ambulance and the teacher goes with the child to the hospital.
However there are fortunate schools around Windhoek that have the infrastructure to deal with emergency situations. One of these schools, Immanuel Shifidi Secondary School has a first aid kit that is always fully stocked in the case of an emergency but even with this in place they still have to call the parents before they administer any treatment.
“When children fall sick or are injured we first have to call the parents then we proceed from then, for small issues we have a medical aid kit and we make double sure that everything is in order and stocked up” The principal of the school Herman Katjiiuongua has said.
The school also collaborates with the City of Windhoek’s Fire Prevention Section and hosts a yearly fire drill. They also have the equipment to deal with fires if and when they arise. The principal added that they also double check this equipment to make sure that it works properly. He also commented that no public school has a nurse and said that it was very unfortunate.
Another fortunate school is People’s Primary School , Principal of the school, Patrick Xoagub has said that they are fortunate to have  two first aid kits and teachers that are trained in first aid, that deal with any situation where a child is injured .
“With the universal primary education fund coming, we will also budget for more fist aid kits. Our hostel is also prepared to deal with emergency situations as they have a child care matron” he said.
There have also been problems contacting to the Ministry of Works And Transport to rectify certain infrastructure such as the commissioning of fire extinguishers.
“We requested for fire extinguishers from the Ministry of Works but till now we haven’t gotten anything since there are not enough fire extinguishers at the school. Last year we asked for a quotation from the private sector for the extinguishers and they were valued at N$14000” //Gaseb said.
Ferreira said that they had a pipe burst at the school three weeks ago and contacting the MWT to come fix the issue proved difficult. She added that they had to fix this problem themselves after calling the ministry 5-6times. “In any event we always have to come up with ways to fix our own things” she said.
Private schools in Windhoek seem more prepared to deal with emergency situations.
The Windhoek International School has a fulltime nurse to comply with its standards as an international school. They further have fire extinguishers in every classroom and building in the school which are checked on, on a yearly basis. School nurse Sharon Gorelick said that in the event of a medical emergency such as an arm being broken she will be able to deal with it on site and then call the parents to take the child to the hospital for further treatment.
Responding the lack of safety tools in schools, including fire extinguishers, in an earlier interview, Minister of Education, Dr David Namwandi told The Villager that there is very little they can do because that is the prerogative the Ministry of Works and Transport. “We all for safety at schools but then ensuring that facilities such as fire extinguishers are installed at schools and are operational, is the prerogative of our colleagues at works and transport. They should be able to give you a detailed explanation because they are the custodians of all government facilities.”