29 January 2013

Namibia: Officials Shut Down Hostel

Windhoek — Students at Sikosinyana Secondary School in Caprivi's Linyanti Constituency have been without a hostel since August last year after it was closed down due to its deplorable and uninhabitable condition.

The school hostel was closed following the recommendations of a health inspector from the Ministry of Health and Social Services.

The school hostel for the past few years had no basic amenities such as water and flushing toilets, causing a health hazard to both teachers and learners.

According to school board deputy chairperson, Lawrence Mahunga, who also served as school board chairperson for the past three years, the hostel is in a state of disrepair.

Mahunga said that when the hostel was closed, the Caprivi Regional Council provided the school with 16 tents and two portable toilets in an attempt to keep learners close to the school as the examinations were approaching.

School head teacher, Francis Imenda, confirmed the school hostel was closed last year upon recommendations by a health inspector and that the school has been using tents from the Caprivi Regional Council for accommodation, but at the moment "learners have decided to rent due to heavy rains".

"The school wrote several letters to the regional management for a quick renovation of the hostel as that was the plan, but without success," Imenda told New Era.

The hostel's closure is said to have left about 450 learners stranded, with those from far away villages the most affected.

Mahunga said the situation also affected the performance of learners in last year's Grade 10 and Grade 12 examinations.

"When you compare the results with the 2011 results, there is a great difference", he said, adding he fears for the worse if the hostel is not renovated soon.

Imenda also concurred with Muhangu that the learners are suffering due to the closure, saying: "Learners are indeed suffering, some have asked for a transfer."

Enrolment at the school has also declined this year.

When contacted for comment, the Acting Regional Education Planner, Desmond Liswaniso, refused to comment, only saying, "I cannot say anything on that."

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