Namwandi shocked at state of Omatako PS

24 Sep 2013 10:30
TSUMKWE, 24 SEP (NAMPA) - The Minister of Education, Dr David Namwandi visited Omatako Primary School (PS) in the Tsumkwe Constituency on Monday after complaints were received about the manner in which the school is managed.
Namwandi was accompanied by Otjozondjupa Regional Education Director Faustina Caley during his surprise visit to the school.
Omatako PS, which accommodates 321 learners in Grades 1 to 7, has 12 teachers including school principal Deon Louw, and is situated 156 kilometres east of Grootfontein in the Otjozondjupa Region.
Namwandi inspected the classrooms, bathrooms, boys’ and girls’ hostels, dining hall and the kitchen and was shocked at the state of the buildings.
“I have never seen a school as dirty as this. Everything is broken,” he said.
There were also a number of cattle, donkeys and goats on the school premises and the minister was not happy about this.
At the boys’ hostel, the Education Minister was shocked to see that there was no proper flooring and that beds were stood in an open hall on the ground.
“This is unacceptable. It hurts me to see learners sleeping in a hall like this during winter and during the rainy season. I strongly condemn this state of affairs,” an angry Namwandi said.
There are 160 hostel learners - 80 boys and 80 girls.
The minister entered a Grade 4 classroom where he asked the learners who Namibia’s President and Prime Minister are, but they could not answer his questions.
They could however say who their principal was.
“I blame the school leadership. How can learners know who their school principal is, but fail to know the country’s president?” he questioned.
He then called the teachers to a meeting in one of the classrooms, demanding to know from them why the school is in the state it is.
Louw explained that the school was initially a South African military base and was turned into a Government school, so the structures are very old.
He also said the animals come to the school yard looking for water because the school has the only functioning borehole in the entire Omatako village.
“What can we do? There is no water at this village, only the school has water, therefore animals and people come into our school yard to get water,” he stated.
He explained that are actually two boreholes powered by diesel engines at Omatako, but said the one used by the community has been out of order for the past 10 weeks.
At the meeting it also emerged that cooperation is lacking between the principal and teachers, with some teachers accusing Louw of being racist and apparently being rude to them.
The principal was also accused by teachers of misusing money from the school development fund.
“I have been at this school for the past five years, and I have never heard of a financial report for the school,” Omatako PS treasurer Ngapite Kauheva charged.
Louw denied all accusations against him during the meeting.
Namwandi however issued a warning to the principal and instructed Caley to watch him ‘closely’. He also demanded a report on the school’s finances before 15 October this year.
The Otjozondjupa Regional Education Director said Omatako PS received more than N.dollars 110 000 from Government’s universal primary education school development funds.
To this Louw responded that the N.dollars 110 000 is still in the school’s bank account and said the school is open for auditing.