Learners in Tsumkwe going hungry

22 Jun 2013 04:30
TSUMKWE, 22 JUN (NAMPA) - Over 500 learners at Tsumkwe Primary School (PS) are forced to attend classes on empty stomachs due to delays in the distribution of maize meal for the school feeding programme.
Tsumkwe is situated 260 kilometres east of Grootfontein in the Otjozondjupa Region.
The hostel superintendent at Tsumkwe Primary School, Evangelina Kandjii told Nampa in a recent telephonic interview out of the 620 learners registered at the school, 504 are day scholars who depend on Government?s School Feeding Programme for their breakfast.
Kandjii is also involved in the school feeding programme.
Since the beginning of the second term on 21 May this year, the children have had to go without a meal to start their day as the Ministry of Education has not yet supplied Tsumkwe PS with maize meal.
The acting principal at the school, Adelheid Butkas confirmed the situation, saying their school is not the only one which has been affected in the Tsumkwe Constituency.
?I heard it is a national problem faced by all primary schools in the country,? Butkas said.
The Otjozondjupa Region's Hostel Co-ordinating Officer, Hendricks Damara on his part said none of the day scholars at the 44 primary schools in the region have been receiving breakfast at their schools since the beginning of the second term.
?I am informed that the situation in Tsumkwe is worse, because there for some San learners it is like if there is no breakfast for them at school, then there is no school at all,? Damara said.
He explained that the Ministry of Education was working towards finding a solution to the problem.
He added that hostel learners in the Otjozondjupa Region are not affected by the situation, as their food is being distributed by a private company which is contracted by the Ministry of Education.
Contacted for comment on the matter, the spokesperson of the Ministry of Education Romeo Muyunda said he was aware of the situation in Tsumkwe.
He said the problem was caused by the delays in appointing a company to distribute maize meal to all the primary schools here and around the country.
The previous tender contract for the distribution expired at the end of March this year.
?However, we have recently contracted someone, a private company, to distribute the maize meal to all our primary schools in the country under the School Feeding Programme,? he said.
He would however not reveal the name of the newly contracted company.
Muyunda said the distribution of the maize meal to Government primary schools in the Oshana, Omusati and Kunene Regions started this week.
He urged those affected in the Tsumkwe Constituency to be patient as they will receive their maize meal ?soon?, and said Education Ministry was also busy looking for another company to start supplying learners with fresh milk and biscuits, in addition to the porridge they receive for breakfast currently.
The Namibian School Feeding Programme was started in 2006.