Hostels needed in Kunene to keep learners in school

01 Dec 2016 16:30pm
OPUWO, 01 DEC (NAMPA) – Some parents in the Kunene Region keep their children at home because of the long distance between home and school, plus the low availability of food and danger of being attacked by wild animals.
The closest distance to school for some children is 6 kilometres (km) and the longest 14km.
Mother Veisapo Maundu told Nampa recently that only one of her 11 children attends school because of the 28 kilometres to and from school and lack of food.
Another mother, Mariyeua Koruhama, said families have sleepless nights from the worry of their children not arriving at school or home alive because of lions and elephants roaming in the area.
Director of Wildlife and National Parks in Kunene, Colgar Sikopo acknowledged the conflict between humans and wildlife in the region but maintained there is a need for people and animals to share the environment.
Advisor to the Kunene regional governor, Katuutire Kaura said school hostels are very important.
“If government wants to see the fruits of the millions (of dollars) it injects into education then the construction of more hostels in the (Kunene) region should be prioritised to make sure more children attend school,” said Kaura.
Out of the 24 837 learners in the Kunene Region, 10 134 live in hostels.
Kunene Regional Education Director, Angelina Steenkamp said there are 21 government hostels with a total of 5 625 boarders, eight government-subsidised hostels accommodating 1 472 boarders, 19 community hostels hosting 2 961 boarders and one private hostel in the region hosting 76 boarders.
Education Inspector, Chris Tjivikua told Nampa that plans are underway to construct more hostels and convert the 37 mobile schools into formal schools.
Tjivikua said mobile schools are no longer catering to the lifestyle of the people living in the region.
“Mobile schools were brought into being to cater for the nomadic nature of some of the inhabitants of the Kunene Region but drought has robbed them of their cattle and they are no more nomadic.”
The mobile Omwangete, Etoto and Otjiu primary schools are to be converted into permanent schools with hostels when finances are availed, he said.