09 Jul 2013 08:20
MURURANI, 09 JUL (NAMPA) - Primary school learners in the Kavango Region have started missing school, apparently because they have not received their regular meals under the national school-feeding programme for nearly two weeks now.
For some learners in the region, the maize meal porridge they receive at school is the only meal for the day.
It is now feared that the situation will affect the learners? performance and end-of-year results, especially orphans and vulnerable children who have started to stay away from school, apparently after realising that the porridge is not being served at the school anymore.
Over 42 000 learners who benefit from Government?s school-feeding programme are affected.
One of the severely affected schools which has not received maize meal for two weeks now, is the Mururani Combined School, situated 130 kilometres (km) south of Rundu. The school has a high number of marginalised learners.
About 300 vulnerable learners in Grades One to Seven depend on the meals at the school.
The school?s acting principal, Mathias Ndumba told Nampa on Tuesday the learners last received maize meal under the school-feeding programme on 27 June.
He said the lack of maize meal is negatively affecting learners, especially the vulnerable San learners who have started missing classes as some are reportedly not attending school because the porridge is not served any more.
The Mururani Combined School usually receives about 200 12,5 kilogramme bags of maize meal.
Approached for comment, the owner of Mwatenge Trading, which was awarded the four-month tender to distribute maize meals to schools in the Kavango Region this term, said only three of the region?s 11 educational circuits have received maize meal so far.
He said they are still waiting for the maize meal to be blended with sugar and protein before it can be delivered to the schools.
The three circuits which have received maize meal so far are in the Mukwe, Shinyungwe and Ndiyona circuits, all situated east of Rundu.
The company?s owner, Fillemon Nanyanga told Nampa on Tuesday they are waiting on the company which was awarded the tender to blend the maize meal, to finish the blending process, adding that they have also been without work for about two weeks now.
Meanwhile, Walter Mali, the owner of Halutusane Investment which was awarded the tender to blend maize meal, told Nampa on Tuesday he was only awarded the tender last month and that it would be unrealistic for him to have finished blending maize meal for distribution to all schools in both the Caprivi and Kavango regions since then.
The maize meal is being blended in the Caprivi Region.
Mali explained that the delay is also being caused by the fact that he has to order maize meal, sugar and protein, which forms part of the maize meal blend, from South Africa, since it is not locally produced.
He however indicated that he is almost done supplying about 10 000 bags of maize meal to the Caprivi Region, while about 42 000 bags of maize meal are expected to be delivered to schools in the Kavango Region from next week.