11 Jun 2013 05:10
By Tjikunda Kulunga
OKAOKO-OTAVI, 11 JUN (NAMPA) - Male and female learners at the Okaoko-Otavi Combined School near Opuwo are forced to share accommodation due to a lack of hostel facilities here.
The Okaoko-Otavi village is situated some 40 kilometres south-west of Opuwo.
School principal Paulus Karutjaiva told Nampa on Monday that some boys and girls share rooms, and in some cases even beds at outside accommodation establishments due to the lack of accommodation at the hostel.
Speaking about the accommodation as well as feeding problems learners encounter at this school, the principal said the Okaoko-Otavi Combined School has 326 learners, of whom only 64 are accommodated in the hostel.
The rest stay with relatives or other accommodation, where they are forced to share.
?Five girls fell pregnant last year as a result of sharing rooms,? charged Karutjaiva.
He complained that the problem reflects badly on the school as it causes learners to drop out and causes high failure rates, and blamed the situation on the lack of parents being involved in their children?s education and wellbeing.
Karutjaiva said the problem started when the Combined School started two Grade 8 classes last year, but there were no places available in the school?s hostel to accommodate these new learners.
The hostel currently accommodates 64 learners, of whom 32 are boys and the rest are girls.
?The opening of the Grade 8 classes at the school was optional for parents on the condition that they would secure accommodation for their children while at the school, while the school would secure the classrooms and teachers,? the principal noted.
He said parents agreed to find accommodation, but at the end of the day, learners were allegedly just ?dumped? at the Okaoko-Otavi village without proper accommodation arrangements having been made.
?The children had to look for their own accommodation, and also look for ways to get food,? Karutjaiva stated.
Some of the children have now resorted to using tents, which they put up on the school grounds, while many are accommodated by members of the community at houses which are currently not in use.
The principal said he thinks the problem also lies with parents having little understanding of education, and how important it is for their children to get a proper rest in order for them to perform well academically.
Several meetings have been held with parents to look into how they could go about constructing extra accommodation for the learners, but no support was forthcoming from the parents for this idea.
Nampa managed to speak to six learners, who share a room with a man who lives in a house owned by his employer.
These learners said they do not even know whom the house belongs to, and that the man was kind enough to offer them accommodation after he heard that they had nowhere to stay.
Karutjaiva thus called on Government to look into constructing accommodation for the learners at the school as a matter of urgency.