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Pupils forced to carry water to school

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A LACK of water for almost the entire year has disrupted lessons at Ngcove Primary School, situated in the Ndama location at Rundu.

This was revealed by school teachers during a visit by The Namibian last week.

It also forced pupils and teachers to carry their own water containers from home and saw some pupils skipping school to look for water nearby, as the entire Ndama community grappled with water shortages.

The school initially catered for San children before the area experienced an influx of people from the rural areas in the early 2000s.

The school fell under the management of the government in 2020, and has a total of 224 pupils up to Grade 3.

“The last time we had water at the school was at the beginning of the year. The only way we survive is to tell each learner to bring a water container from home. We have also told their parents to ensure that they prepare water containers to bring to school,” said head of department Scholastika Mukennah.

“When they return to classes after break, since our classrooms are made of zinc, it becomes hot, especially during summer like now, and pupils end up not paying attention in class because they are thirsty.”

She said the school doesn’t even have a tap of its own, and used a tap belonging to the San community before being instructed by the Rundu Town Council to stop the practice.

This has seen sanitation become a major concern at the school.

Teacher Lucia Ihemba said the lack of water means pupils are unable to wash their hands after using the toilet.

“You can also imagine during the time of the coronavirus,” said Ihemba, who lives nearby.

She sometimes assisted the school with water from her house but the situation became more complicated, as the entire community was without water.

Kavango East director of education Fanuel Kapapero told The Namibian on Tuesday that plans are underway to have permanent structures erected at the school, as pupils currently attend classes in makeshift structures, which is not ideal, particularly during the hot summer months.

“It’s sad that learners do not have water, and they must carry water from home. This is also why we wanted to close the school, but the community petitioned us that the pupils need the school,” said Kapapero.

Ngcove Primary School is not only battling water issues, teachers said even the land on which the school is situated presented challenges when the education directorate wanted to construct classrooms.

Mukennah said engagements are underway between the San community, the Rundu Town Council and the education directorate to have the land transferred to the directorate.

A letter written by a representative of the San community, Hellena Nambase, resolved to transfer ownership of the land to the ministry in order for construction to proceed at the school.

Nambase, who once worked as a volunteer teacher at the school, said it has produced professional teachers and nurses since its establishment.

Her dream is for the school to be developed to better accommodate the growing number of children in the area to reduce the distance they are forced to walk to attend school.

Rundu Town Council chief executive officer Olavi Nathanael told The Namibian yesterday that water issues at Ndama are due to low pressure. This stems from increased demand, as the population in the area has grown.

However, he said the council is looking to find a permanent solution, and a borehole has been drilled to cater for the community.

“We are about to acquire a water pump and pipes to connect to the borehole. That will be able to feed into our current water system to increase the pressure for us to connect the affected people,” said Nathanael.



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