Dilapidated Swakop hostel to be closed

07 Mar 2017 15:20pm
SWAKOPMUND, 07 MAR (NAMPA) – The Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture has decided to close the Hofmeyer hostel in Swakopmund due to its dilapidated state.
The parents of the 81 learners who stay at the hostel will be informed that they will not be allowed to return to the hostel next year, director of education in the Erongo Region, John /Awaseb told Nampa on Monday.
He said the damage to the hostel at Namib Primary School (NPS) is too extensive and will be too costly to repair.
This follows a recommendation by the Swakopmund Municipality’s department of health in December 2015 that the building be closed as it was not fit for occupation.
The education directorate was however forced to ignore the warning as there was nowhere else to accommodate the learners.
/Awaseb said the repairs will cost more than N.dollars 1 million, which they do not have.
For this financial year, he said, they received just N.dollars 3.4 million for the renovation of 14 hostels as well as classrooms and libraries at various schools in the region.
“Renovating Hofmeyer will drain our pockets,” he said.
In the meantime, learners are stuck in the mouldy building with poor ventilation caused by windows being permanently shut after they broke and could not be repaired.
The smell is detectable outside the building and gets worse as one enters.
A visit to the hostel last week revealed shocking circumstances – damaged ceilings that are permanently damp and broken bedroom and bathroom doors.
Since 2015, learners have been washing themselves in cold water as the geysers are broken.
The second floor where the boys’ rooms were located has already been closed, meaning they now stay on the same floor as the girls.
The study room also has to be locked up and learners now study in the dining hall.
A report issued by the municipality after their inspections in 2015 contain details on cracked walls, falling ceilings and rusty, exposed electrical wires.
It also said makes mention of soaked matrasses.
The report states that poisonous fungus from mouldy walls due to leaking water might cause allergies and infections such as Toxic Mould Disease associated with ‘sick building syndrome’.
The syndrome describes a range of symptoms thought to be linked to spending time in a certain building.
Werner Wahl, the principal of Namib Primary School who manages the hostel, confirmed the report last week.
He said although he is very concerned about the situation, his hands are tied.
“It is our responsibility to take care of these children, parents also entrust us with the responsibility of looking after children. Something must be done,” NPS board chairperson, Ciska Garises told this news agency.
NPS is not the only school in Erongo in this predicament as a number of schools and hostels are in desperate need of repairs. These include Atlantic Junior Secondary in Swakopmund which needs N.dollars 6 million and Swakopmund Senior Secondary School; as well as Petrus !Ganeb Secondary School at Uis, Dibasen Junior Secondary at Okombahe and SI !Gobs Senior Secondary School in Omaruru .