Omeyantalala — Teachers and learners of Omeyantalala Combined School in the Okankolo Constituency are pleading with government to provide the school with clean drinking water. Currently water is fetched from villages nearly five kilometres from the school.
Although the school has a water tank, they only receive water every three months from the directorate of rural and water affairs in the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry.
"We really need water at the school. We are suffering, as teachers have to wake up as early as 04h00 on a daily basis to fetch water to use and bath," pleaded acting principal Saima Ihonya.
She reiterated this when highlighting some of the challenges facing the school. The school has 285 learners and 14 staff members, of which only two are permanent. In addition to the water problem, the school lacks teaching materials, which hampers teaching and learning.
"We don't have electricity here. The solar panels - they are not strong to supply enough power. We also have a generator but using a generator has been too costly in terms of buying fuel. Without electricity we are unable to print out some handouts to the learners, which are needed for certain lessons," she stated.
She indicated that the situation was aggravated by the lack of exposure of the learners to the world beyond Omeyantalala village.
"These kids only know what happens in the village. If you ask them some things they completely do not know. However, I am grateful to my fellow staff members who have taken it upon themselves to use their own laptops to show and teach them about other elements [of society] which they are not aware of," added Ihonya.
Ihonya further said that factors such as this have compelled good teachers to leave the school because they could no longer bear the situation. On average, teachers only stay at the school for a year.
Another challenge is that the school hostel facility is full to capacity and in a dilapidated state. It is a two-block corrugated iron shack facility for boys and girls and is without any beds or mattresses. "Despite all these issues, I am impressed with the commitment being presented by the teachers. They have the learners' interest at heart," the principal said.